Beware of Social Media Traps and Don’t Feed the Trolls

06 Apr

I shared a bit of this on Google+ earlier this week. This post is a continuation of that thought. (By the way, Google+ is a good place to share the beginnings of blog posts to see if there response to your basic idea before putting it into a full-fledged blog post). Here are some thoughts about the social media traps I’ve fallen into and how I try to avoid them.

The argument trap

Over seven+ years of active participation in multiple social media communities, I’ve learned that there are times when I have to back-off in order to preserve my sanity. I’m not a fan of arguing (it doesn’t often change minds) and everyone on the Internet is an expert (#sarcasm).  That is why I don’t get involved in Twitter chats any more. My experience with Twitter chats falls into two categories: people racing to get their half-formed thoughts out there for everyone to see their brilliance or people arguing. Both scenarios annoy me. When I feel myself starting to get annoyed by conversations on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook, I know that it is time to back away from the keyboard for a while. Yes, that is some times easier said than done.

The comparison trap

Spending too much time on social media also makes it easy to get sucked into a cycle of comparing yourself to others, too much of that isn’t good for the mind either. I enjoy individual pursuits like skiing, archery, and biking because while I could enter competitions (I used to) I find more enjoyment in “competing” with myself to improve myself. The same is true with my business, I enjoy competing with myself to meet the goals that I’ve set for myself. I’ve intentionally chosen not to hire employees because I don’t want that responsibility. I know that decision limits the growth potential for my business so I don’t worry about measuring my business against similar businesses that have employees. Likewise, I choose not to write headlines and articles laden with SEO tricks and buzzwords. That decision also limits the social reach of some of my work, I’m okay with that. I challenge myself to meet my own goals, I don’t measure success against what others are doing.

Blocking and unfollowing

Social networks are full of “trolls” who are just looking for an argument at every turn. Don’t be afraid to block or unfollow those people. Similarly, your interests will change over time so don’t be afraid to unfollow someone if he or she is no longer of interest to you. It’s your network and your experience, make it the best one possible for yourself.

What social media is good for…

What social media is good for is sharing your ideas that lead back to your online hub (your blog) where you can share complete thoughts. Social media is good for making connections with folks who have similar interests. And social media is good for getting feedback on your ideas as long as you don’t turn it into an argument.

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