What my elders taught me about social media

Posted by Emma Walter on 3/23/12 6:07 AM

By Leah Trimble

As a 21-year-old just beginning my career, I’ve grown up on all things Internet-related, especially social media. I remember the beginning, a time of MySpace profiles and AIM chat. It wasn’t long after that Facebook was initiated (2004), and just two years later, Twitter appeared. Since then, there have been numerous blog platforms, the growth of LinkedIn, and now, Pinterest.

Yet, it wasn’t until starting my internship at WordWrite Communications that I realized the most appropriate uses of these social media channels! Even after growing up alongside social media, I still didn’t know the best approach to expressing myself on the Internet. Here’s what I learned from my more experienced colleagues:

1. There’s a time and a place for social media.

Before you tweet or update your status, ask yourself “Will people actually want to read this?” If the answer is no, don’t post it. Whether it’s as simple as congratulating a friend on a new job or offering your opinion on a more serious matter, your content should have meaning to other people. The same applies to the quantity of information that’s posted. For instance, one of our best authorities on this subject, our inbound marketing partner Hubspot, says that those who tweet between 10 and 50 times per day typically have more followers than those who go below or above this. I would alter this number based on the category and content of your account.

2. All eyes are on you.

If you’ve ever looked for a job, or work in a field associated with social media, then you probably know this, but for those whose careers depend less on social media, remember: what you write can almost always be accessed by those who really want to view it. It’s not hard to get around privacy settings, contrary to popular belief. If you wouldn’t say something to your grandparents, reconsider before throwing it out into the permanent Internet archive of limitless (and frequently unforgiving) readers.

3. Not everything you post belongs on every social media platform.

Resist linking your Facebook to your Twitter to your LinkedIn, and whatever else you can connect. Hashtags look sloppy on Facebook, and funny stories probably aren’t the best choice for content on your LinkedIn professional profile page. Also, people don’t want to read the same thing over and over again.

Keep in mind that your social media accounts are always connected to your reputation and are ultimately an extension of the way others view you. Just like in everyday conversation, not every detail belongs on the Internet and to be honest, it’s probable that people don’t want to read about you that often anyways. These tools should market who you are…don’t let them destroy you instead.


Jeremy ChurchLeah is a public relations intern for WordWrite Communications.

She can be reached at leah.trimble@wordwritepr.com.

Topics: social media