Social media is not social. Social media is all business.
This works from the providers’ point of view and your point of view.
Their Point of view:
Advertising is the financial driver behind all media. Local newspapers have seen their advertisers moving to the web in larger and larger numbers. (This may explain why the newspapers have gotten smaller and smaller.)
Advertisers want to know that their ads are getting to the right people (their target demographic). With a newspaper their ads get to anyone who buys a paper. But advertisers who use social media can now specifically target the audience.
Google vs Facebook.
With Google advertisers buy the space to the right of a Google search based on search terms. If you sell a book of improv games (for example) then you want your ad to appear when people search for “improv” or “Improv games” or “improv classes”. But you don’t know who is doing the searching.
With Facebook advertisers can buy the space next to a page based on the person’s profile. You can put an ad next to anyone’s page who is between the ages of 18 and 40 living in Chicago who has identified “improv” as one of there favorite things.
That’s why when I joined “Google+” I had to check the box allowing them to use my personal information for ads. And us it for ads on “non-Google web sites.”
What you get.
They have to give us enough benefits to make it seem like a fair trade.
From Your Point of View:
Social media and smart phones allow us to post photos and commentary whenever and wherever we feel the impulse. These bits of data about us represent our presence, who we appear to be….our brand.
This is not a problem as long as our brand is consistent throughout our lives. But there are probably parts of our personality that we want to feature and other parts that we don’t want to feature. Here are two stories when actions did not meet brand expectations.
A person I know recently took time off from work to visit family in another state and celebrate a big family occasion. One day this person posted how much fun they were having. This would be consistent with his/her brand except that he/she told the boss that they were sick and taking sick leave. The boss read the post and the person was fired.
I was celebrating the end of a long and successful project in another city with the team. It was late and about the same time bartender announced last call we were joined by another team member. They took a few pictures (‘happy snaps’ I like to call them) and posted the images the next day – complete with ‘tags’.
Everyone was tired, everyone had a drink in their hand and the harsh light from the flash made the images quite …er…unflattering. It was not the image I wanted to present to my friends, family or future work teams. I untagged the images and checked in with the person who took the shots explaining why I untagged myself.
Everything we post tells a story about who we are and our values. If we want to participate in social media and be successful in business…we need to be our own Publicity Agent.
Are employers looking at your postings? Yes they are. Why? Nothing personal…it’s just business.
William Hall is an actor, trainer and improviser living in San Francisco, CA. He works with companies to engage and involve audiences at Trade Shows, Conferences and Training Sessions. He is a founder of BATS Improv and the author of The Playbook: Improv Games for Performers.