Social media makes sharing easy, but expose only the most attractive parts of yourself and cover up those things you would rather the rest of the world NOT glimpse.
We’ve all wished we could take back something we said, or hoped that an embarrassing memory would fade with time. With a little luck, and forgiveness on the part of others, it’s possible to make a fresh start and put the past behind us. Unless, of course, our past is indelibly etched into the hard drive of a computer—and recalled with the press of a button.
As an FBI agent, I interviewed many different kinds of people. The most productive for my investigations were those who talked—and talked—because they were often the kind who didn’t know when to shut up for their own good. They provided too much information about themselves and many times those details were ultimately damaging to their character and/or their goals
Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your social network:
Specific, Not Brief
Social networks force you to condense large thoughts into a few skimpy words. The rule to remember is this: be specific, not brief. With 140 characters, you can’t afford to make a mistake, so specificity is key when trying to get your thoughts across. Too often, in an effort to be brief with your comments, the words you use can be vague and confusing.
The best business plans are one-page because they force the writer to concentrate on essentials and clearly think through the issues. In social media, the limit is one good sentence. If that sentence is specific and vivid enough, your readers will get the point.
The greater your goals, the more intentional you need to be in the way you communicate them to others. Develop a strategy so the world sees exactly what you want them to see, and nothing more.
Start off by focusing firmly on the people with whom you want to interact. Once you figure that out, then you’ll have a much better idea of how to intentionally create the type of content that they need. If you can share valuable content, you’ve drastically increased the chances of them following you and promoting you in their networks.
Close, Not Intimate
If people are going to accept you, you will need to accept them, too. This means close and frequent contact with them if you expect your relationship to grow. In other words, continued presence makes the heart grow fonder. Instead of asking, “Who can help me?” start thinking how you can be both a valuable and regular player in their life.
Social media allows you to extend your reach by helping others. Do this by sharing helpful content. It’s easier to connect with people and stay close to them because they feel that you have their best interests at heart. If they feel accepted by you, they will reciprocate. It increases the chance that they will mention you if they’re in contact with a company or organization that needs your kind of help.
Your behavior doesn’t go unnoticed, so pay attention to on-line etiquette. When people respond to your content, talk back! Form personal connections with your audience and encourage them to continue viewing your content.
- Use sound judgment by remaining aware of how your comments will be interpreted by others listening in.
- Reply in a timely manner.
- Take the time to thank people for their interest and their response.
- Give credit where credit is due.
To prevent over-exposing yourself on social media, keep your goals in mind. Words are expressions of your mind—they communicate your personality. The wrong information can leave the wrong impression, so be discreet in the way you convey yourself in social media. People often ignore their choice of words when presenting themselves, but they are as important as facial expressions, handshakes, and the way you dress.
No matter how compelling your story, remember that condensing the most revealing details is key. Maintain appropriate boundaries on social media because if something embarrassing is hanging out, everyone sees it.