Monday, October 29, 2012

Your Goal in Social Media

What is your goal in posting thoughts, links, and photos on Facebook and other social networks?

If you're posting things as an individual, you may seek to connect with old classmates, co-workers, and family members. You want to keep them up to date on your life and thoughts. You want to stay informed about their adventures and ideas. You like to share what you think may interest them (movies, books, music, events).

If you're a business, you hopefully want to share your expertise, give people advice related to your field, provide timely information about your industry, and connect with potential customers in a warm and human manner. People prefer to do business with companies they know, like, and trust.

Some people like to express their political, philosophical, or spiritual ideas and beliefs in social media. If they post material that is confrontational, inflammatory, or provocative, it's often because they hope to persuade, influence, or convince those who have an opposing view.

Big mistake.

You should feel free to express yourself as boldly as you wish. But you should get rid of your hope to convert anyone to your point of view, especially if you are a bit strident, combative, or aggressive.

What commonly happens is you get attacked, mocked, or abused. People may use filthy language against you. They may try to hurt your feelings, make you look bad, or twist your words around, jump to unwarranted conclusions, and make invalid assumptions.

I've seen people act shocked when this happens. They wanted a friendly debate, but there are some topics that are very difficult to discuss and explore without arousing strong reactions, hostility, and infantile outbursts.

You must learn how to express your beliefs and opinions firmly and confidently, without caring about how anybody responds to them. If you get agreement, it must not delight you. If you get disagreement, it must not discourage you. You have to maintain a strong indifference to how others react to you.

Above all, you must renounce the vain, egotistic desire to change anybody. Nobody changes their core values or ideologies due to a Facebook wall post, a political cartoon, or a link to a source that they don't consider credible due to its bias against their ideology.

People change their faith, philosophy, or political orientation very slowly. Often this change is due to reading a lot of books, coming under the influence of a charismatic mentor, being betrayed by a trusted leader, or experiencing a personal tragedy.

Post whatever you want to post. But keep your expectations realistic and humble. Be satisfied with giving good advice, linking to good information, cheering up your friends, staying in touch with family, sharing your photos and ideas, and encouraging others.

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