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How To Avoid Being A Social Media Idiot

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If you aren’t careful with your social media presence, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of backpedaling and reputation repair. You might even find yourself out of business. Far too many people have found themselves unemployed, or out of business because of social media gaffes. 

With that in mind, much of what follows here is common sense. However, given the number of people blundering into these cobwebs every day, this primer on how to avoid being a social media idiot seems to be warranted.  

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself 

One thing social media has revealed quite vividly is how many people have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence. Poor spelling, faulty grammar, non-existent punctuation—all of these reflect badly on the poster and completely undermine their message, regardless of how profound it might be.  

If You Wouldn’t Say It Aloud 

It’s amazing how many people post things in social media feeds they’d never say aloud. How they can completely overlook the fact that what they’re saying on a social media outlet becomes public the moment they click “Post” is mind-boggling. Ultimately, negativity, complaints and condescension only make you look bad—chill on that noise.   

Business Propositions Are Taboo 

If you want to do a business deal with someone, find a way to contact that person directly. Pitching an idea for something like how to sell ebooks on your own website in a social feed is useless—not to mention dumb. If it’s really good, you just told the whole world—and it will be stolen. If it’s bad, you’ll look stupid AND you just told the whole world about it. Further, even if the prospect is interested in the idea; they’re not likely to accept it—in front of the whole world.  

Strive for Clarity of Communication 

Ever found yourself in an argument with someone who misinterpreted a text message? Written communication does not afford the visual and aural cues you have in face-to-face communication to help convey your intentions. As a result, attempts at sarcasm, irony and quite often—humor can fall flat. While emojis do help, people still tend to take the written word literally. Be careful to ensure the words you use mean exactly what you want to say. Counting on people to “get it” is a good way to wind up misunderstood.  

Ditto Images 

Studies have shown social media posts with pictures get far more attention than those with text alone. Hey, people need a compelling reason to read now—what can we say? However, you have to make sure those pictures have the effect you intend. Everything social media is open to interpretation. It’s your responsibility to ensure the understanding people get is the one you intended.  

Keep Private Thoughts Private 

We all know that one person who can be counted on to post something wholly inappropriate at three in the morning, presumably after they’ve been drinking all evening. Slut-shaming your ex, disparaging your mate’s inadequacies, or speaking ill of colleagues, clients and competitors should be avoided at all costs—even if you’re running for (or have been elected) president.  

Again, most of this stuff really is common sense. But, as we have seen far too many times, common sense isn’t common. Before you unleash a tirade of poorly spelled intensely personal invectives upon the world, we hope you’ll stop and recall this advice on how to avoid being a social media idiot. It never hurts to step back, take a deep breath and make sure you aren’t about to present yourself as being one.  

We’ll all be glad you did.