‘The Other Press’ guide to style and class in social media
By Sophie Isbister, Staff Writer
People have asked me a lot of questions about my social media detox, mostly, “What’s the point?” which is a silly question that I refuse to address. The second most common is, “Will you go back to Facebook?” and my answer is always a resounding, “Hell yes!”
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that social media is the place to be (see last week’s column on what I miss about social media). I’ve also learned that social media is a tool to be wielded wisely. I hope to temper my posts with moderation, and in an effort to cement these good habits while the ideas are mere buds in my mind, I’ve created a handy how-to guide for Facebook posts. I’m going to tackle the top five things to post on Facebook, and my co-writer Keating Smith will be sharing his personal hit-list of Facebook pet peeves. As with all advice in The Other Press, the following should be taken as gospel and strictly adhered to.
Top five dos when posting on Facebook:
1. Link with confidence—and context! We’ve all seen it: the link or music video just slapped on someone’s newsfeed and broadcast to their own personal audience, with zero accompanying information. I think sharing is great—with some caveats. If you’re going to post a link to an article, I’d suggest including a pullout quote and then providing a small blurb of your own writing to spark a discussion.
2. Share, but don’t over share. This one should be a no-brainer, but it isn’t. The whole point of social media, I realize, is to share details about your life, and I love to read the occasional “Bennies for breakfast!” status. But before you hit post on your latest lunch or transit status, think: does everyone need to know your exact schedule of meals and deals? Unless you’re actively seeking stalkers, try to limit the personal life shares to once or twice a day. Or less.
3. Infographics are good, but only if they’re good. Infographics, or flashy visual representations of data, are shared on Facebook about as frequently as an Amanda Bynes hit-and-run. They’re usually created by social advocacy pages, which I can get behind, but only if they’re good. I’m seriously interested in knowing about the evils of Monsanto and the benefits of organic farming, just as much as I’m interested in a breakdown on how electoral reform could have prevented a Conservative majority government. I’m not interested in reading a cluttered, grainy, and hastily-shared table that looks like it was made in MS Paint.
4. Manage your brand. Social media is most effective when your online activity is focussed. The day-to-day stuff is nice to read in moderation, but what I really like is when people tailor their posts to a specific interest. Say you really like baking, or Canadian film. Maybe you do graphic design, or write for a student publication such as The Other Press. If you can manage and promote your personal brand and become known for a certain kind of post, it will make your Timeline, and your overall social media presence, more relevant and connected.
5. A picture says a thousand words. I know some will disagree here, especially my colleague Keating Smith, but I just can’t get enough of Instagrammed photos of food, cats, and kids. Vacations, graffiti, latte art, dead birds, I love it, so keep it coming! Some may argue that over-sharing clutters their feed and doesn’t provide any valuable information, but I say it’s hard to take an ugly photo with Instagram (or Android versions such as LightBox and FXCamera). Images are a visual, attractive way to share original life content. And if you don’t like it, you can scroll down.