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How Not to Use Social Media

By Amanda Sides on Jun 12, 2016

No one can deny the power of social media, whether for personal or business reasons. At this point, we've had more than 10 years of experience with Facebook, and reaching Level: Expert on other platforms like Twitter, Periscope, and Instagram is attainable in a short period of time.

However, despite all the information (and common sense) out there telling us how to use these tools to the best of their ability, there are still people who use them in other ways. Some of them are obvious, as in they show up right there on your profile after you hit "post", but others are behaviors the user can quietly engage in, where no one might know except for the user himself. These, however, are equally damaging or inappropriate, and we can't believe that social media was really intended for those purposes. Please tell us you're not doing any of this:

Leaving Cryptic Posts or Fishing for Comments

Also known as "vaguebooking" or "fishbooking", most business accounts are professional enough to avoid this, but it's rampant on personal profiles. You know the stuff:

"Ugh, this was the worst day ever!"

"I'm so ugly." (Usually posted with a really stunning picture of a beautiful person.)

"I can't believe I fell for it again. I'm sick of it."

You're probably not doing this, but you might be tempted at times to leave a comment for someone who does. Refrain. There's nothing wrong with posting about something that's bothering you,  and one of the very cool aspects of social media is that there are people there to offer support, but doing it in this vague, cryptic way is a cry for attention.

If someone you know well does this constantly and you're genuinely worried, speak with him privately and ask if there's anything he needs to talk about.

Stalking Catching Up with Your Ex

It's so tempting, and so easy, and no one ever has to know. But all it does is rub salt in a wound that obviously hasn't quite healed, or you wouldn't be checking out who she has friended lately. Remember that what you see on that profile isn't really accurate, anyway; it's your ex's life the way your ex wants it to be displayed to the public (and, perhaps, to you).

You've got a life to live! Don't let your ex hold you back, not even online.

Going on Angry Rants

This applies to original posts and comments on someone else's post, and is my own personal pet peeve. The viciousness, rudeness, and inappropriateness involved in online arguments is appalling. It shows no respect for our fellow human beings. It's fine to politely disagree with someone and share you own viewpoint, but there's no reason to get your heart rate up over it when that argument there on the screen doesn't do anything to affect real change. If it's something you're passionate about, figure out a way to address it in the real world.

Comparing Yourself

Why am I not as successful as he is? How did my high school classmate manage to accomplish that when she was so careless back then?

As when dealing with your ex, remember that social profiles only show what the user wants people to see. Even the most wonderful life has its challenges and dull moments and bad hair days that usually don't show up in your feed.

Your own journey is beautiful and perfectly designed (by you!) for your own personal development and success. Embrace it and stay the course, no matter what anyone else is posting.


Okay, fess up: are you guilty of any of the above transgressions?

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