Clean your social media? Why not delete?
Even in fall, spring cleaning has come upon us. But it’s not about the rooms in your house. It’s about the device in your pocket. Presence helps to clean your social media and cleaning has never been this easy.
When I first started writing this blog post, I intended it to strictly be about deleting social media posts. But social media is tied to so many aspects of our lives that it’s hardly ever just “social media.” What follows are not reasons to delete social media. There are no examples of anyone getting canceled. What follows are reasons to clean your social media.
During this quarantine, social media has been a great tool to stay connected with each other and provide support. Let’s keep it that way.
This post is really about practicing social media hygiene and how you can benefit from being more conscious about what you post. There’s no such thing as a data dentist.
You wouldn’t hand a stranger your diary or a photo album of you and your family. That would be weird right?
What makes status updates and tweets so different? While they are intended to be seen, those status updates and tweets remain static – unchanging. Like most people, I imagine you’ve grown and changed since your first social media post. Things you would have posted ten years ago are often vastly different from the content you share now. That begs me to ask the question: Do all the posts on your timeline reflect who you are as a person today?
1. You’ve Changed, Your Social Presence Should Reflect That
Today, anyone can create their own content, draft a story, publish it on a website or app, and become a social media influencer. It’s one of the genuinely great innovations of the modern era. Social media and socially oriented platforms have firmly rooted themself in the lexicon of human interaction. For reference, Facebook has been around for 16 years and has amassed 2.7 billion active users, monthly.
The youngest users who joined Facebook in 2004, compliant with the terms, are 29 today. At a young age, many of those users, myself included, have been guilty of responding emotionally to posts and comments. Years later, those interactions still live somewhere on the timeline. I guarantee those individuals are not the same people they were in middle school. I know I’m not. Be mindful about what you post. Detach yourself from your Facebook and social media history. It’s okay to delete things. That’s the beauty of being human. We learn. We grow. We do stuff. We change our minds.
Be intentional. Delete your old tweets with Presence. Clean up your timeline.
If a tree falls in a forest but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If you were truly alone, you could scream into the void and no one would hear you. When you post something on the internet, it sure feels like you’re screaming into the void. But I can assure you, people are listening. There are eyes and ears everywhere.
2. Misunderstanding Out-of-Context
It’s easy for a post to be misunderstood, especially years after it’s been posted. Things are easily taken out of context. A screenshot here. A misquote there. It seems like people are canceled everywhere.
The joke you told your friend in person about the mailman won’t come across the same way over twitter. The delivery just isn’t the same and someone could take it the wrong way. To avoid those risks, think before you tweet that hilarious joke and always review your posts before publishing.
Social media aficionados and thoughtful content writers such as Matthew Kobach and David Perell edit their posts extensively before pushing them live to reduce this risk and increase the value of their advice.
The best writers and storytellers such as Susanna Clarke, John M. Ford, Neil Gaiman, and J.R.R. Tolkien all write in a way that only they can. It is referred to as their writer’s voice. Even without certain indicators, skilled writers can evoke clear understanding and paint pictures with their prose. That’s what makes them skilled. And it takes a lot of practice. And a lot of editing. To Mr. Gaiman, and Mrs. Clarke – did I understate that??
R.I.P. to the late John M. Ford (1957-2006), I have just begun reading The Dragon Waiting. I certainly cannot wait to find out what happens and find out what doesn’t.
Elizabeth Bernstein aka “Bonds” points out in her WSJ article “How to offer Unsolicited Advice Without Being Annoying,” not all advice is created equal. Even if the substance of the advice is the same. Sometimes it is about who said it, but often, it is how it was said. Invariably, however, it is often one in the same. We listen to certain people not because their reputation precedes them but their reputation precedes them because we listen to them. What is said and how it is said carries immense value.
In the 60’s Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a professor of psychology, studied communication and its modes of effectiveness. His findings gave a mathematical approach to understand how messages are understood.
He concluded that an interpretation of a message is:
- 7% Verbal: This relates to the formulation of words.
- 38% Vocal: How we say something impacts how it is heard – things like pitch and tone say a lot.
- 55% Visual: The single most effective aspect in delivering a message accurately is what is unsaid. Body language and things like posture and eye contact provide unmatched clarity.
In practice, what we post on social media is uniquely equipped to be misunderstood. The most significant factors used to decipher a message are filtered out. Dr. Mehrabian’s study is now about 60 years old and oft-misquoted. As I understand it, the model above indicates that by design, on a very basic level, your status updates or tweets could be more difficult to understand without certain visual and auditory cues.
This is not just applicable to social media either. Think about court room transcripts. Was something said sarcastically? Was there some muttering under the breath that the writer was unable to document? Was the interviewee sweating, failing to make eye contact or poised? In this world of social content, the internet is your judge and your followers your jury. Present your case as clearly as you can.
How many of you noticed my mailman pun? If you didn’t, not only is it a poor reflection on my ability to communicate clearly, it also illustrates why verbal cues paired with non-verbal cues are so important. I won’t explain the punchline, maybe you’re reading this on a Sunday, no mail today.
I just did it.
3. Privacy Concerns
One of the biggest reasons every user should consider when deciding whether or not to clean up old social media posts is privacy. On social media, your whole life is on display. Rather, the life that you post about is on display. Some users tend to be more conservative with the information they post, others less so. Cleaning your social media applies to all users.
We recently joined forces with the National Cyber Security Alliance to promote the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign. If you want to post holiday photos on Facebook when you’re out of town – don’t. That’s an invitation for someone to burglarize your home while you are away. Wait until you return from your trip to share those awesome pics. Check out other tips here.
To use the Presence app to clean your social media posts, here’s our how-to, step-by-step guide:
In the meantime, subscribe to our blog and join the movement. #PrivacyFirst
Presence can do a lot more than just clean your social media. Here are 4 other things Presence Can Do For You.
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