The questions in this article include: Am I seeking approval? Am I boasting? Am I discontent? Is this a moment to protect? Is it kind?
These are really good questions to consider. But I’ve found that Facebook and the particular way it is structured as a platform was the main offender in that these were issues in the first place.
I don’t use Facebook to grovel in the worries of being liked, rather I use Twitter and meet people I don’t yet know. Building new relationships and networking is what I see as the superior repurposing of social media (realized in sites like LinkedIn). Not only is this emphatically more productive of a mindset to have when using a web platform, but it allows you to avoid a lot of the prat falls of the typical issues of meanness, boastfulness, and seeking the approval of others.
These barriers are removed because you can focus on finding others with your shared interests, which means you’d gravitate more towards honesty to find other people like you.
I hope more people adapt this model of using the web, although I doubt it will become mainstream for quite some time. But over 3 million people deactivated their Facebook accounts last year, and Twitter continues to grow, so I’m seeing a hopeful trend in this area. :)
When did I begin using social? Probably 2007, but since then, I’ve certainly learned a lot about it (especially with experimenting with over 100 different social networking profiles).
My last point is that I don’t think people understand the power of social media. For example, the most overused and incorrectly used word on Facebook, “hacking,” (aka signing in as someone else and posting something) isn’t funny anymore. You’re affecting a friend’s image, and essentially, their brand. It can be the difference from getting a job or not as well as personal perception.
Social media isn’t a silly internet game, it’s a real-world strategy.