This is not an exit

Lessons Learned During a Social Media Dryspell

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm

 

Remember the season seven episode of The Office where Darryl threatens to delete Andy’s number from his phone because of all the obnoxious texts the ever-polite salesman insists on sending on a daily basis?

“I  wanted you to know that Michael and I are wearing the same tie today. It’s insane!” Andy exclaims, to which Darryl responds, “You need to change your standards for what’s worthy of a text. Ask yourself: ‘Is this something Darryl needs to know?’ The answer’s almost always ‘no.'” (I’d embed the clip, but after an hour of fruitlessly searching for it, I decided that I have better things to do with my time, like take my car in for an oil change. No, seriously. I just did that.)

It’s excellent commentary on our generation on behalf of the show’s writers. I’m sure you’ve all had those Facebook friends — be they friends, relatives or coworkers — who feel the need to upload pictures of the new vegan dish they just cooked or the traffic jam in which they’re ensnared during their morning commutes.

It’s this type of over-sharing that had me lurking on the Internet more than anything for the last three months. In finishing spring term, I looked over a lot of what I had posted on Facebook and Twitter and wondered why I was sharing the links, status updates and photos that had appeared on both feeds. Much of what I had posted was the usual social media fare: Pictures of buildings shot at dusk, deliciously unhealthy food and the random project update.

My average likes: two per post. Comments: 0.2 per post. Average retweets: One per 8.5 posts.

Okay, so I didn’t really count. But there were plenty of updates that went without much notice by my friends or followers. Why was that? I took the last 90 or so days to figure that out. It seems people don’t really care about what you’re about to have for dinner or the fact that you work a six-hour late-night shift on a Friday night. Why? Because they put up with that sort of thing every day, too.

It wasn’t until I stepped back and asked myself, “If the name and photo attached to this profile were different, would I be interested in it at all?”

Not really.

Over the next few weeks you’ll see just what I mean. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter for an idea of what you’re in for. No food photos. No bitching about work. No passive-aggressive rhetorical questions directed at specific people without mentioning their names. (Not that I did that before, I just really hate it when people do.)

From now on, every post and status update will be prefaced with the question, “Is this something Darryl needs to know?” Chances are, the answer will usually be “probably.”

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