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10 Tips for Keeping Social Media Truly Social

The web is overflowing with blog posts, news articles, and even YouTube videos that give people all sorts of juicy Internet marketing tips. There are plenty of helpful articles about “leveraging” Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to work for your business and your professional networking.

The apparent web-based obsession with commercializing social media should be no surprise for two reasons: 1) the present economic state of most countries has left many people desperate to make money anyway they can, even if that means selling pharmaceuticals to their Facebook friends, and 2) social media can be profitable, both for the service providers and their customers. Social media is part of my profession, so I am one of those annoying people who uses it to further my business.

1. Friend your friends, not strangers.

The race to get 1 billion Twitter followers may be alluring to some, but the best way to keep it strictly social is to only follow friends and family and only allow friends and family to follow you. Many people on Facebook may add you as a friend just because you have a cute picture, but the next thing you know, your wall is filled with their spam. Choose your friends carefully.

2. Keep your work at work.

Some people are obsessed with work, and nothing anyone says is going to change that. But if you are not, you must resist the urge to write about work, add coworkers as friends, and access your social media while at work.

3. Setup separate accounts for your business.

Just as you may not want your friends to shove their businesses down your throat, they may have the same expectations for you. If you ever want true social media peace of mind, your business space must remain separate from your private life. Think of yourself as a superhero with two identities.

4. Unfriend when necessary.

Yes, “unfriend” is now in the dictionary, and for good reasons. Remember, being courteous is saying “please” and “thank you”, not letting someone you do not even like into your social life. If someone crosses the line, remove them.

5. Use tight privacy settings.

This has been a big concern for Facebook users. The reality is that you can never guarantee anything you place on the web will remain private. Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. You can, however, limit the easy access strangers and enemies have to content you only intended for your friends and family.

6. Be careful what you “like”.

Facebook “like” buttons are popping up all over the web. While it may seem harmless to show people that you like something, doing so actually gives the website with the like button the ability to tell everyone else you like them. Increasing visibility is good for businesses but may not be something you want.

7. Investigate before you add new friends.

Social Media is not only good for keeping up with your current friends; you can also use it to meet new friends. Rather than randomly accepting friend requests, however, do a little investigating. If someone’s Twitter profile is filled with shortened URLs and no conversation, you probably will not get much out of the friendship.

8. Keep private photos private.

If you have a particularly naughty photo or picture of a private moment that you only want friends to see, it is best to leave it off social networking sites completely. All it takes is a right click for someone to keep your photo forever and share it with anyone they want.

9. Be mindful of commercial interests.

All of the major social media sites are for-profit organizations that must make money. Always keep that in mind. Many individuals on the sites who seem quite normal are actually making money being your friend. In other words, if you want to have a YouTube debate with the Old Spice guy, keep in mind that you are contributing to a commercial enterprise.

10. Comment with care.

It is tempting to comment on every story or video you see, but those comments have consequences, especially if the site you are using to comment is one you intend to use only for family and/or friends. Avoid logging into websites using credentials from social media sites.

All of that is fine and good, but if you are expecting me to give you the secret to instant social media millions, stop reading now. If, however, you are tired of getting Twitter spam and Facebook junk requests, UK server hosting company and I are happy to present to you 10 ways to make your social media experience more social and less commercial.

Social media can be fun, but it can also become overwhelming. Keeping a small social circle is one way to minimize the social web’s impact on your life, while also still gaining some benefit from it. Choose your friends wisely, and never mix business with pleasure.

Tavis J. Hampton is a librarian and writer with a decade of experience in information technology, web hosting, and Linux system administration. He currently works for LanternTorch.Net, which offers writing, editing, tech training, and information architecture services.

Post image by Tom Coates

Posted in Social Networking. Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Replies

  1. Great tips, very helpful in order to have a more safe social media presence.

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