Are you the type who looks to social media like Facebook and Twitter as an outward expression of your emotions? I think, to some degree, we all have a bit of that in us. However, not everyone has the kind of processing time or capability to really take a step back and think about the things they’re posting. Some would argue belligerently that “It’s my Facebook and Twitter! I’ll post what I want!” but that’s the irresponsible person’s way of thinking. Every once in a while, all of us need to be pulled aside and be given a few helpful tips on how to approach Facebook and Twitter that won’t make us flinch the second we log in later when the coals have cooled or the tears have dried up.
Good thing you’ve got me, right?
What Are You Trying to Say on Facebook and Twitter?
The important thing about social media like Facebook and Twitter is that it seriously bridges gaps between all of our lives, yet it’s done mostly through text. That, no matter how good of a writer you are, can be complex. I personally praise myself on being easy to convey through emotion and text, but if the person who’s reading what you’re saying has a different voice or tone in their head, what you’re saying and how you feel you said it on Facebook and Twitter no longer matters. This is something I still struggle with, so I’m not even going to tell you anyone has it truly mastered. However, there are ways to make sure you don’t bumble without meaning to.
When you’re upset and your fingers want to start clicking against the keys to vent your frustrations on Facebook and Twitter, lift your hands up off your keyboard and form the words in your head. Think about it as if you have an actual audience who is viewing your message on a screen and think about the people in your feeds and on your Facebook and Twitter as if they’re each individuals with their own lives, emotions, and strains, too. How would they receive your message? Would they care? Would they see your anger or sorrow as valuable and want to help, or is it possible they will just scroll past it and your message would have been for nothing? Or, and hear me out, is it possible that they will have an indelible tally-mark now to notice that you have a hot-head and you can’t keep your emotions in check, thus changing the way they look at you? Yes, they may change the way they look at you based on a few quick-tempered words you put out on Facebook and Twitter for everyone to see.
Seems silly, doesn’t it?
It’s human nature, though. None of us are innocent of it, and while there are a few altruistic souls out there who would pity and want to help soothe your animal heart, not all of them are going to be that way. Some will see you as unpredictable and possibly short-fused or maybe they will consistently see you as morose. Are you always bitching about work? What about your kids? These things leave impressions, and God forbid you start in on relationships; nothing spells “Ditch the ship” like seeing someone consistently leave vague yet passive aggressive posts about their significant others on Facebook and Twitter
Remove the Chaff on Facebook and Twitter
If you feel that you’re possibly reaching out to a specific audience member or that maybe you feel like you’re not able to express yourself without fear of reproach — remove those people. Start a more private and intimate Facebook page or — better yet — blog about it. Sometimes we really need to get these feelings off of our chests and it’s easy to do it digitally where strangers can see it and not link back to our names. Personally, I own five Tumblr pages that none of you could and would be able to find but they speak leagues about who I am: my most raw feelings and emotions and expressions of myself that might not be ready for prime time. There are dozens of ways for you to express your inner-self online without damaging your family, friends and workplace relationships because you’re upset. You just need to get creative.
Another Tip: Lock it up! If you don’t want the public to see everything you’ve got going down, Facebook and Twitter have settings where only those who you add to your lists and feeds will be able to see your inner workings. If you feel you cannot possibly restrain yourself from your outpourings, at least — at the very least — limit your audience.
If you feel that you are an open book and you have people on your feeds that won’t understand or possibly care about the things you say — why are they there? It’s not a judgment call because, at one point, I had amassed 1,300 friends on Facebook and, to be honest, I knew 60 of them personally. We easily add people to our lists because we want to get to know them better, follow their lives, and understand who these new faces are, but I have issued a preliminary period. If I add someone and haven’t felt the need to comment, like, or even notice their posts, I remove them. I give it a week and if I feel they’re just sitting there, reading, and looking over my feed silently without approaching me either, I remove them. There’s no use in them being there to witness all of my personal stories and intimate details into my family life and such, if they’re not going to become active in it.
Don’t Be Vague on Facebook and Twitter
Look, I get it. Sometimes you just have to get it out. Sometimes you’ll say something like “Another one bites the dust,” and that will lead people to think you’re either having a Queen moment or you’re talking about someone. Possibly even them! Nobody will know though or possibly one person will see it and get the hint and then, before you know it, you’re conveying things through passive means that are looking innocent but are more like drone strikes of aggression in status message form. Don’t do that. That’s wrong. I know that because I did it. I never saw it as that, I always saw it as “Aha! He’ll know what I mean! Jerk!” and instead of actually communicating the issue with that person one-on-one, I was just being a little shithead and acting like a child. Don’t do that. Don’t use Facebook and Twitter to air your grievances out through song lyrics or four-word sentences. We all know you’re upset, we all know who it is about, and some of us don’t really care because our lives are heavy, too.
Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t post music videos and Spotify tracks if you’re really feeling the emotion there. Do it. That’s far more productive than just blurbing out text in hopes that someone who you feel wronged you will see it. At least put something on the landscape worth scrolling around, you know?
So these are my tips. Do you know someone who uses Facebook and Twitter as a means to blurt out their personal business? Do you cringe sometimes when you see their posts on Facebook and Twitter and other social media? What about you? Are you guilty of these same kinds of atrocities? Of course you are. We all are. What do you do in order to resist the temptations of blindly gushing on the Internet?
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