Antisocial networking: How to get unfollowed, unfriended and lose influence
We've all heard it by now. If you want to get ahead in most industries, you need a substantial web presence -- a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and maybe a Pinterest, a Tumblr, a Google+ (OK, you don't really need a Google+).
And, of course, it's not enough to just set up these accounts. You have to populate them with content, interact with others in your industry, be engaging, be smart, be funny. It's a lot of work, and sometimes a right pain in the butt. I don't love keeping up my Twitter. But I force myself, because you have to.
On top of that, you must always be aware that social media can be a powerful tool for creating relationships and promoting yourself, but can also be a powerful tool for making yourself look like a tool.
Social media has also become a means by which we interact with co-workers and bosses. Twitter and Facebook might look like great places to vent your rage or try out your comedy routine, but think twice.
Think of each network as a party or gathering where you want to impress people. Facebook is a friend's house party, Twitter a wedding or larger party where you know fewer people and Linkedin, an industry networking event.
Here are a few common mistakes that put people off, focusing on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as they're still the most important.
Giving a blow by blow of your daily activities: "Sitting in my car at a traffic light..." "Going to buy groceries..." "I just ate a hot dog!" It might seem hard to believe but this sort of thing doesn't make for a thrilling narrative. Even if you don't get unfollowed, people will simply start to ignore your updates.
Posting constantly: This is particularly a problem on Facebook, people who don't have anything better to do posting updates alllllll day - pics, videos, jokes, grumpy cat pics, someecards cards, "insightful" musings, articles...gah! STOP IT - you're clogging people's feeds. And here's the thing: did you know that people can keep you as a friend but block your updates? And you'd be none the wiser.
Complaining: I hear this one a lot, "I had to block/unfollow so and so because she just complained all the time." We all do it to some degree but come on, mornings? Weather? "It's too cold outside..." "I hate getting up and having to go to work...." It's boring and makes you look like a whiner.
Bombarding strangers with connection requests: Apparently this is bad (though, I totally do it). If you want to connect with someone, you should send a personal message explaining why you think the connection would be a good one. And don't indicate that you're "friends" if you're not. It's lazy at best, creepy at worst (note to self: stop doing this).
Not posting a picture, or posting an inappropriate picture: Post a picture of your face. People will connect to that better than to a pic of a celebrity, movie still or, uh, let's say hot dog. Don't post pictures that are blurry, tiny or drunk and stupid. And don't post sexy pics on Linkedin, unless you're a porn star.
Now, here are a couple of things that bother me, particularly, and might therefore, I assume, bother others.
Complaining about others' social networking etiquette: Seen online today: "Twitter tip for noobs: Not RT back is like ignoring someone on the street who compliments you, and totally unforgivable. Serious business."
Would you walk around a social event loudly denouncing people's social behaviour? No. Because people would think you were an idiot.
Slut tweets: There is a bizarre number of women out there posting highly sexual tweets that I can only assume they think makes them look sexy and empowered. It doesn't. It makes them look desperate.
Again, if you're a porn star, I suppose it could be good marketing. But I actually follow a few porn stars who are more likely to post about the books they're reading or, you know, what they ate for lunch. Normal stuff.
Inspirational quotes: This is weirdly common. "What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. -Plutarch"... "If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome. -Michael Jordan." If I want cheese, my friend owns this awesome little shop that also sells bread and coffee. So, you know how to Google "Inspirational Quotes." This useless, sappy crap is available on any number of websites where I can find it myself if I want it, which I don't.
Not all social media is created equal. I'm more likely to post more personal information on Facebook, where I actually know my "friends" than on Twitter, where I don't.
And, let's not go too far. Currently there's a bit of a backlash against sharing pictures of babies on your Facebook feed. Personally, I love pictures of people's babies. But you don't want to be posting your baby pics on LinkedIn.
And food. Apparently, a lot of folks don't care to see pictures of what you're having for lunch. I do. But, not everyone does.
Now, feel free to share the social networking behaviours that make you want to put the block on someone.
Follow Elizabeth Bromstein on Twitter @missbromstein.
Category: Job search strategies, Student