Thursday, March 8, 2012

Social Media: A Positive Tool, Not a Negative Trap

With the rising popularity of the social networking in recent years, the increasing misuse of this tool has been rising almost just as quickly. If you are one of the people that find yourself using Facebook and Twitter as ways to argue and insult others, stop it! Admittedly, yes, I have been sucked into a few debates myself on Facebook and have learned one important rule because of those experiences – NOBODY EVER WINS! 

It is understandable that 2012, just like any other election year, is going to be filled to the brim with political debates and discussions. However, if politicians themselves struggle to the win these debates on television, what makes other people think that they would be able to win political debates on the internet? Do you seriously believe that you are going to change the political views and opinions of a Republican or Democrat through a Facebook posting? 

Sure, we all have been trapped in fierce crossfire of debates bouncing back and forth online. However, there are some members of Facebook that have the sole purpose of engaging cyber warfare with others. Who are these people? They are the so-called “friends” that never support anything that you do. However, the very second that they do not agree with you on something, they are always the first ones to immediately starting pushing your buttons. Do NOT allow these people to get to you! Keep in mind that you don’t have to respond to every post on your page or even look at them. You have the option to ignore or even delete the comment and you always have the choice of unfriending them all together.

So many people seem to forget that a Facebook friend is supposed to be just that – a friend. If they only jump at the chance of arguing with you or mocking you, they really are not your friends and need to be dumped. 

People that use social networking simply for fun are free to do whatever they like with it. However, if you are using it for business purposes, you need to focus on using it more as a tool instead of a hobby. You are still able to have fun with it while, at the same time, always remaining professional and courteous to your followers, friends and business contacts. 

It is also important to continuously be mindful of the time that you spend on these sites. Just like with TV, it is too easy to get hooked within Facebook and Twitter for several hours at a time. Because of this time trap, it will not take long before you are sacrificing important time that should be dedicated to your business.  If you are getting new clients through your time in the social media world, great! Keep at it, because it only means that all of the power networking is paying off for you and your business. However, if you find yourself just hanging out like we used to hang outside the "7-Eleven" as teenagers, then it is time to change your social networking habits. 

It’s FaceBOOK, not FaceWHINE

In 2012, Facebook seems to be evolving into Facewhine with millions of members finding new things to complain about almost daily. Even though it is extremely difficult to stay positive, try your best to stay away from this growing trap of negativity. I admit that I have been guilty of complaining about my Minnesota sports teams many times, but I assure you that I am taking medication for that! (lol) Besides, can you blame me? So you see, I too need help with this problem. 

The purpose of this blog is not for me to point fingers just at everyone else, because I am also guilty of doing the same thing. Whenever I write or type things out, I am able to have an accurate perspective of my own thoughts and actions. Isn’t that why people use journals and diaries in the first place? These tools help them to improve in many different aspects of their lives.  

Share the Space & Avoid Suspicious Postings

Make sure that you are not hogging the room on Facebook. For example, when you go to a party, you definitely do not want to hear from the same dude all night long, right? Of course not! You want to be able to engage and communicate with the other guests at the party as well. Social media works the same exact way. Multiple posts in the same day from the same person can literally drive a person insane, especially within the Facebook group pages. There are times when there may be several people posting on these pages every single hour. Everybody else that may want to post a link or start a topic shy away from doing so because of the excessive number of posts being published by those same people. Back in kindergarten, we all learned the importance of “sharing with the other kids”. That same principle can easily be applied in social networking as well. 

If you notice an unusual picture, video or any other kind of attachment, NEVER open it. Facebook has been susceptible to viruses, spam and phishing lately. When these posts pop up on your page, hide or delete the postings immediately and alert the member whose page those links were found on. More times than not, they had nothing to do with that posting and probably aren’t even aware that it is on their page in the first place. If this happens to you, immediately changing your password will often resolve the issue. 

In conclusion, please remember that social network marketing can be a fun and enjoyable process as long as we use these tools in the way that they were intended to be used.