Day 1: Five problems with social media

Problem 1

Assuming everyone is on social media.

The degree to which individuals engage in social media varies greatly depending on personality type and available time. While it is convenient to organise parties and book launches through Facebook events, not everyone will use Facebook as frequently as you do, be as diligent about checking notifications, or have the tech savvy or online etiquette to respond as you would. Many people still refuse to create Facebook accounts for concerns about privacy. While Facebook groups are a great way to keep track of a large amount of people, you need to be realistic about the fact that some notifications will be missed and quickly drop down the timeline if they are not popular.

Problem 2

Flooding an account with updates.

We all do it. And we all know it shouldn’t be done. But sometimes if you are at a music festival or writers festival or on holiday or catching up with old friends you suddenly have a lot to say all in one go. A friend of mine often tells me when they open up Facebook sometimes they mistakenly think they are logged into my account because their entire newsfeed is just posts from me. This has a little bit to do with Facebook algorithms, where if you click Like on a friend’s post they automatically show you more from that friend, but it is exacerbated by posting peaks and troughs. This isn’t a huge big deal on a personal Facebook profile, but if your Instagram or Twitter is primarily aimed at promoting your brand or creative product you may want to investigate scheduling tools like TweetDeck or Buffer to pace yourself out a bit or people may unfollow.

Problem 3

#ridiculouslylonghashtagsthatbarelyanyonecanreadandnobodyissearchingfor

I know, I know, this is a form of humour. Or it is intended to be. But is it? If it is an actual joke it is pretty much indecipherable unless you capitalise each word to give the reader a fighting chance. The hashtag is really only searchable if it is a unique combination that is used by all the people from a group or common interests to flag similar posts. So people watching the Australian ABC’s political panel TV show ‘Q&A’ all comment on Twitter and Facebook using the tag #qanda so other viewers can search the term and filter their feeds to only see others in the same conversation. People attending Sydney Writers Festival this year will use the hashtag #swf2016 and if you live-tweet Eurovision in Australia you use the hashtag #sbseurovision.

Problem 4

Moaning about your woes.

I’m from the old-school internet where your online persona is supposed to be the super version of your real self. I think social media, particularly Facebook where all your relatives and high school friends are, is for highlighting the positive or interesting. If you are in hospital or suffering a flu or an allergy maybe just give one general announcement for sympathy (maybe someone random will send you flowers) and just a recap at the end when the diagnosis is known and you can assure people you are okay. Anyone who really needs to know, you are calling or private messaging anyway, so why worry the rest of us? Same with job uncertainty, relationship problems, and microwaved meals – you can keep some things private (or at least abridged). However, if you are having a vendetta with you mailman, or have developed a conspiracy theory that involves cats, it is your duty to tell the world!

Problem 5

Like notifications.

We don’t need them. Full stop. Notifications telling me someone has clicked Like on one of my posts or photos are simple not necessary. They clog up my notifications, increasing the chance of me missing something important: a comment with a question in it. Nobody wants to be the snob of Facebook, ignoring those rare people that actively interact with you. Likes are a form of passive communication, they can be nice, but I don’t need a notification going off every time someone hits the button. Unfortunately this is something Facebook users do not currently have the option to turn off.

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