What Everyone Else Wished You knew about Social Media

Tools are multifaceted. A tool such as a hammer can be used for a variety of purposes like pounding a nail, breaking a rock, or smashing a spider. A fork can be used to eat your spaghetti, or dislodge weeds in your garden. A Swiss Army Knife is multifaceted because there are many tools bundled into one package. One can cut bread, pop tabs, pull a splinter, and dislodge food between the teeth with any number of the tools gathered.


Properly using social media is growing more difficult because of the variety of ways people use the tool. As its uses expand, the platform changes to incorporate those uses. (We can say the same about the tools we use to access social media, such as computers, cell phones, and now glasses).

Here are two suggestions for Social Media use:

1. Pick a use, and stick with it.

Because of the changing horizons of tools and uses, each individual has to determine what the tool is meant for?

Twitter: the worst place on the internet to attempt debate.

— Brandon (@WarriorotCross) September 23, 2013

There are certain things that a tool is not capable of doing, at least in a way that leads to desirable results. We have all heard about the pocket knife arm amputation, but no one wants to be that guy.

How do you determine this? Here are several questions to ask yourself:

1. What can I say? 

2. How can I say it? Can I use words, a picture, or a 6 second video?

3. How much room do I have to develop what I want to say?

Pick your use, let it be known, and be consistent. Your “friends” will thank me. This is not to say that you can’t wear socks as mittens in a pinch, but don’t make a habit of it (that’s weird).


2. Pick an Audience and stick with it:

The audience and accessibility of the information determines what I post and what I will not. You can’t always determine who will read or view what you post, but you need to keep them in mind.

1. LinkedIn: If I used this, I would post information for those who want to read my resume.

2. Twitter: What I post on Twitter is what I wouldn’t mind pasting to my car as a bumper sticker. Anyone can read Twitter, and it will stay up there for a long time…even the 144 character rants.

3. Facebook (and Instagram): I post for those who want to look in my windows. This is sort of creepy, but then again, so are a lot of people on the internet. This information is partly “guarded” (insert 144 character rant on Facebook’s privacy policy), but I still don’t want everyone peeking in my windows. It is for this reason we don’t post a lot of pictures of our family, or any selfies (why would I want someone looking at me in my bathroom mirror?).

Some people post a lot to Facebook. That is fine. But that isn’t for everyone.

4. Blog: for those who want to read my calendar and notes. This information is open for anyone surfing the web, so I won’t be ranting about everything (except for the “You Said What?!” posts). Here though, I am able to explain myself with more than 144 letters, without relying on emoticons, and without those awful abbreviations (insert lol and dancing smiley face).

5. Dinner Table: for those who want to read my journal

If you come into my home, I have made myself vulnerable to you. You can see where I live, what I love, and how I eat. I am already opening up to you, and chances are good that you will learn more about me.

“The guiding principle is this: technology is for the table. This doesn’t mean that technology and the table are in opposition, only that everything we do with our tools—scheduling appointments on our phones, heating up meals in the microwave, reading updates from friends and family on social networks—should all be directed toward enriching the few, precious face-to-face encounters we have in our busy world” (Dyer, From the Garden to the City)

How should I use this tool? Everyone will answer in a different way. The celebrity, marketing agent, and soccer mom will all use Facebook in a different way for a different purpose. But, you have seen the mess that happens when one person tries to use it for everything.


The Takeaway:

You can’t have it all. You can’t use your fork to eat your spaghetti and hoe your garden at the same…or at least without making a mess and eating dirt. When you hold a tool, pick a use and pick an audience. We will all be happier.

How do you use certain social media tools?