Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do You Brag Too Much?

This morning, I participated in an online chat hosted by Elizabeth Bernstein, a noted columnist at the Wall Street Journal. The premise of the chat was to discuss "Bragging in the Facebook Age" and essentially, how to ensure that your messaging is effective, yet not offensive to the majority of your audience (you can please some of the all the time, but you can't please all of them all the time!). And for me, there were three primary takeaways.

#1: Tone Matters
Yes, it's very difficult to convey tone when you're posting to Twitter or Facebook because different people are going to read the same post different ways. But here is a good example of how Ms. Bernstein adjusted her messaging and tone to be more effective:

I live in Miami and have a pretty awesome view of the ocean. I looked out my window and saw a rainbow that was gorgeous. I wanted to post to FB and at first thought of saying: "Here's the awesome view out my window!" But isn't that obnoxious? Instead, I posted: "Here's a beautiful rainbow I just saw in Miami. I hope it brightens your day, too." I think it's all about how we say what we say.

It's a great point. Notice the way the post was phrased. She clearly wasn't bragging, though if she had added a line that said she "saw it from her balcony while drinking a pina colada", some people might have responded negatively (while others would have laughed!).

#2: Don't be Afraid to Unfriend/Unfollow
No one wants to hurt anyones feelings, but a lot of comments in the session were about people that were tired of seeing pictures of people's kids, hearing about other people's accomplishments, and so on. For me, that's probably the biggest benefit of being involved with social media. I love being able to keep tabs on what's happening with the most important people in my life.

For those that view it as a negative though, my recommendation would be to unfollow/unfriend (or if you don't want to upset someone, "hide" their posts in your timeline) because if their posts are really bothersome, they'll get the hint when others start to do the same.

#3: Frequency is the Key
I'm probably an offender of this principle in that I follow a lot of people that post really, really good content, so I share a ton of stuff, in addition to my own writings/findings. This probably pisses off some people that follow me (sorry!), but good content is good content (and can be worth a free lunch!).

There's no definitive answer as to how much is too much. Updating your status once a day might be too much for some and not enough for others -- but being cognizant of the frequency of your posts is important. If a post from you is the first thing you see everytime you log into Facebook (and you likely login several times per day), you might want to re-evaluate how often you are posting things...

Social media is still figuring itself out -- I mean, it's no longer the new kid on the block, but it's far from being defined entirely. Therefore, how you choose to use social media is really up to each individual because we all have different needs that it fills, and different thresholds for the information it provides.

I have included the link to the chat below in case you want to check it out. But for me, the main takeaways were tone, only connecting with those you really want to hear from, and frequency as the three biggest things that can help improve your social media experience.

Chat Archive: http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2012/08/13/live-chat-bragging-in-the-facebook-age/

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