Monday, February 8, 2016

Isn’t personal anymore: Social Media Faux Pas

“This is Bill.

Bill likes playing games on Facebook, but knows that his friends don’t play. Bill does not send them annoying requests.

Bill doesn’t post vague posts just to seek attention.

Bill goes to Starbucks but doesn’t take hundreds of selfies there, doesn’t post them on Facebook and doesn’t post ‘likes’ on them by himself.

Bill is smart. Be like Bill!”

Be like Bill is a social media meme that has been described as "a way for people to passive-aggressively call out social media behaviors that annoy them”. This and many such memes have mushroomed across social media platforms to target using wit and humor, social media behaviors which are touted inappropriate or in poor taste by many of us, who metaphorically ‘eat, sleep and breathe’ on social media.

The primary reason for the ascend of such treatment is - that social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus are now being widely used by businesses and professionals as strong Branding tools. In the current scenario, how you behave on Facebook is directly proportional to how you are perceived by others across your personal and professional networks.

As social media grows and sharing becomes easier, social boundaries seem to have taken a nosedive. However, one needs to be diligent enough to ascertain what to be shared. Here are a few common faux pas made by the netizens across various social media platforms:

·         Profile picture: Your profile picture is your first impression to the world – the world that would judge you completely based on your behavior, not just physical but also on social media. Avoid posting those pouty, self-obsessed selfies. The world does not need to know that you drink beer. For professionals who are active on social media, using a common, sober and professionally clicked photograph is a must.

·         Posting and sharing: Avoid shouting out your entire day’s routine to the world. Whether you sneezed, feeling bored or loved, on a date or at the movies, there’s a high population of your friends on Facebook who really aren’t interested. Sharing over a thousand pictures of you and your darling while on honeymoon isn’t quite appropriate.

·         Likes and Comments: Being active on social media does not mean you like, share or comment every post you come across. There’s no competition, no race! Unless a post is really necessary or interesting, avoid clicking the thumb. And more importantly, do not like your own posts – it’s like the height of self-obsession one can achieve.

Remember, Social media is a very powerful tool. It can be put to use for better causes which are relevant to the society. It’s there to help you create positive memories, not ones for which people would like to shun you away! Act responsibly!

-Sumit Chakravarty

 Faculty, INLEAD

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