I make it no secret that I love social media. Numerous times I have expressed my admiration for it through this blog. Social media is dominant in our society right now and it is only going to keep getting bigger. If you have a good grasp on SM, you know all of the great things it can do such as reconnect old friendships, start new ones, keep you in touch with what is going on in the world, entertain you, share your thoughts, etc. However, as I have also expressed through my writings in this blog, social media does not always produce positive results.
Social media is a very powerful drama generator. Very easily, people can take their drama that started in the real world and take it into the social media realm. Things can then get pretty nasty. Likewise, drama can start entirely inside the social media world as well. A picture here, a comment taken out of context there, or an accepted friend request can all help to stir the pot. From what I have observed, people will usually deal with social media drama by going to one of two extremes.
The first extreme entails waging a full out war on social media, whether it be by chastising someone on his/her Facebook wall or just via your own Facebook status or by dropping Twitter bombs at the person’s expense. The people who resort to social media attacks are very immature people who probably have very low self-esteem. Of course there are many different ways to participate in this extreme besides the general ones I just mentioned. In fact, for the true snakes out there, there are many ways to stick it to someone through social media. In case you just started reading my blog, I actually wrote a whole post on these different methods. So since I have already explained this unfortunate extreme, I want to focus on the other one.
The other end of the spectrum when it comes to the dealing of social media drama attracts the much more mature and less manipulative people. Instead of battling it out to see who can be the wittiest, meanest, and cruelest, they decide to just fall on the sword. They delete all of their social media accounts.
Usually this is a kneejerk decision that was the result of a broken relationship, a friendship gone bad, a rumor that manifested itself socially, or just plain paranoia. From my experiences, the elimination of social media accounts by a person happens quickly and a lot of times out of the blue. One day your friend is tweeting every two seconds and the next day there is no longer a trace of their username or of the 10,000+ tweets they had sent over the past two years. Or one day your co-worker puts up an album of a fun road trip on Facebook and you happened to be tagged in quite a few of the pictures. Then, the next day you log on and see that your picture count has decreased by twenty and the reason for that is that all the pictures that your friend recently posted have disappeared, along with his/her Facebook account.
Although going to the extreme of eliminating one’s social media accounts is a much more noble move than going to the other extreme of slinging mud, I still strongly advise against it. Extremes are never good, even if one is better than the other.
By pulling the plug on your social media outlets, you are single handedly destroying your personal brand. After you press the delete button, all the time and effort you poured into these accounts to reflect your own unique persona will now mean absolutely nothing. There was a time not too long ago where people cringed about employers seeing their Facebook and Twitter pages. The thought out there was that these types of accounts were unprofessional and incriminating. Not so anymore. Everyone has Facebook and Twitter these days, starting with someone who works in a position like myself all the way up to the President of the United States. If you are active in social media it does not mean that you are slacking, it means you are active and engaged. It means you are relevant.
When I Google my name, it returns a lot of results that I have absolutely no control over. I am not saying that these results are negative, I am just saying I don’t have control over them. However, I have complete control over my Facebook account and my Twitter account. And guess what? They both appear in the top five in my returned search results. If I eliminated my social media accounts and a prospective employer or another important person Googled my name, they would get a string of results that had absolutely nothing personal, engaging, or fun. The person who Goggled me would probably think I was out of touch with the current world.
It is also just bad practice to delete your social media accounts because then you are pretty much just giving into the person (or people) you deleted your accounts because of. Don’t concede to them and don’t give them that satisfaction that they really got under your skin. Please also think of the other people you might impact by getting rid your accounts. What if you have an aunt who lives a thousand miles away who has her day brightened every time she logs onto Facebook and sees a new picture of you pop up in her newsfeed. Or how crushed would your mom be if she could no longer keep tabs on you by checking your page and getting her assurance that you are doing okay.
By putting the kibosh on your social networks you are not only isolating yourself from the rest of your friends and family you are also isolating yourself from the world. Sure, you can still get your news from the TV, newspaper, and non-social internet sites but you are missing the one thing that Facebook and Twitter provide that distinguishes themselves from these other mediums…interaction. The world is unfolding right in front of our eyes and the conversation is taking place over social media. Don’t miss out.
Think long and hard before deleting your social media accounts. Don’t make it a spur of the moment decision. If you do delete them, make sure you do it in a way that will allow you to recover them in the future if you decide that you want to reconnect. Remember, don’t go to an extreme. If you find yourself in the middle of social media drama just don’t participate in it. If you feel like you are being violated or “stalked” by someone on one of your accounts, block their ass. Just make sure to stay somewhere in the middle and hold your ground. It is important to have a respected, solid social media presence. Don’t let anyone ruin that for you. Don’t Blink.