Five problems with social media

So Deana is making me do this 30 Days of Writing project. We have a different prompt each day which is supposed to help fill the internet with joy and insight. Or something.

Let me just say that I hate writing prompts. Coming up with an original idea or angle is an important part of writing. Why do most American Idol contestants fail? The number one reason cited is “song selection”. Writing prompts are the song selection of the craft. Idol would have been a very different show if they said, “This week, everyone has to sing Mele Kalikimaka.”

But Deana said I have to do it, so, with my objection registered, here’s my crack at topic number one: Five problems with social media.

OK, let me just also say that this is a terrible prompt. Not only are you telling me what to write about, but your big idea, to spur creativity, is a Buzz Feed article? You’re leaving out the click bait portion though. Today’s prompt is actually Five problems with social media that will cause your JAW to DROP. And you won’t BELIEVE number four!

Did I mention I don’t feel well, and I’m not in a good mood? Also, I don’t believe I’m being paid for this. Let’s get started.


IMG_7232Ohhhhh my gawd! Did you see that??? Un-friggin-believeable. GAAAAAAAA!

Sometimes Twitter is a party you weren’t invited to. And when it is, it’s awfully tough to figure out what you’re missing.

I assume from the cursing and capital letters on my timeline that Daniel Murphy just hit another home run.

Last Saturday, I was in the Kenan Stadium press box when suddenly it became clear to everyone present that …. Um … something happened in the Michigan game.

Think before you tweet. We get it. You’re excited. But does GAAAAAAA really add anything to the discussion? Can you maybe use your words to convey your excitement. I’m also not a big fan of the “this is so amazing that I’ve lost the ability to type coherently” brand of tweets. “K38f8$*%*#!” Yeah, that added a lot, Laugh Shack. Thanks for that.


  1. You Probably Think This Plea For Attention Is About You, Don’t You?

When Deana first invited me to participate in this exercise, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time. So, as anyone would do as a key first step in the decisionmaking process, I went on Facebook. “Facing a tough decision,” I statused. “What to do???”

When I found out it involved writing prompts, I went back to Facebook. “So frustrated right now!” I wrote.

It’s a simple rule. Share, or don’t share. That’s entirely up to you. But don’t half-share and force people to show they care by asking, “What’s wrong sweetheart?” “Praying for you!” “It’ll be okay.”

  1. Everyone you know is there.

Remember when you were in college, and you told your roommate, “You should TOTALLY meet my BFF from high school! You two would get along SO WELL!” And why did you think that? Because they both liked you. But then, when the big meeting finally took place, they were both like, “Yeah, you’re kind of a chump. And I don’t get any of these inside jokes. And the stories you two can’t get through without collapsing in laughter? They don’t sound that funny.” Yeah, that’s what Facebook is like. EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS THERE. That means your college buds, and your aunt, and your boss, and, depending on your age, your mom or kids (or, in my case, both). This is why you spend so long making seating charts at weddings—so these people don’t get too close to each other. And yet they’re all there, sharing their thoughts on your latest status update. That’s just a lot of fun, right there.

  1. Made-up Holidays

Hey hey hey… did you hear that it’s National Foot Rub day? That means that EVERY FREAKING PERSON ON EARTH has to go on Twitter and Facebook and try to say something original about foot rubs. Yes, even Arby’s has to come up with a way to tie their horse-meat sandwiches (I’m assuming, based on the name of the sauce they offer) to foot rubs. “Groans from a vigorous foot rub are wonderful. Groans from your car’s undercarriage are not. Get checked out at Meineke Muffler today!”

Pi Day. Star Wars Day. Back to the Future Day. Seriously. Just stop. None of it is funny.

Unless you’re giving out free stuff. You can tweet about how to get the free stuff.

  1. It’s all an intricate science

I’ve been to meetings at two different jobs this month where I was told the importance of reaching out to Twitter Influencers. You need to compile a list of the T.I.’s (as marketing consultants call them) and incorporate them in your tweeting.

Remember in the early days of Twitter, how people would write to celebrities and beg them for a retweet? That’s basically what “reaching out to Twitter Influencers” means. You want these influential taste makers to retweet your stuff, so all their followers will know you’re cool, and follow you too.

And how did these T.I’s get so I on T? Probably by following a formula laid out by a marketing expert. That’s usually how that works, right?

I remember, years ago, UFC champ Jon “Bones” Jones retweeted a link to my story on him and his football-playing brothers. I tagged him when I tweeted out the link, not because he was a Twitter Influencer and his followers could help my Social Media Reach. I did it, because I thought I’d written a pretty darn good story, and I thought he might like to read it.

I also benefitted from a number of Twitter Influencers (Ben Swain, Richard Averitte, Jim Young) when I moved to North Carolina and had to build an audience. But they didn’t start retweeting me because I compiled a list and systematically won them over … first by retweeting THEIR stuff and then by strategically tagging them in MY stuff. No, they thought my tweets were either informative or entertaining (or, on rare occasions, both), and, when I linked to stories, they liked them too. So they recommended me to their followers.

I know, what does quality have to do with marketing? My fault.


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