Beware the thin skin of social media.
At least twice in the last seven days I've antagonized people I actually like on #SoMe. I say at least because these are only the ones I know about. There may well be – probably are – others where people were annoyed but didn't bother to say so.
At least not to me.
Thus the dark side of #SoMe: how do we engage in real and real time conversation when in the end its constructed of just data – 1's and 0's. How do we know when we take a joke too far, show a little less empathy than we thought or simply unintentionally offend people we actually care about?
Welcome to the thin skin.
In our effort to understand and embrace #SoMe sometimes we focus too much on the “me” and not enough on the “so”. Remember, this is all new to all of us. Despite the ongoing onslaught of bombastic self-promoting plugs on G+, there really are no “experts.”
We're all figuring this out as we go.
One school of thought says to do social we should use all the biggest platforms. In our quest to create presence then we adopt FB and LinkedIn and Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter and many others without thinking about impact.
But more is not always better.
Our efforts to be in all the right places and say witty enough things on a frequent enough basis obviates the concept of social as interaction. It becomes a one way push of data, stuff or just junk that turns “we” into “me.”
The speed of social media – the ability to touch so many people so quickly – entails risk much like the über sharp kitchen knife: sometimes you cut yourself without even realizing it. Sometimes you prick the thin skin becuase you're focused on quantity, not quality.
Sometimes you're not thinking social.
An overarching presence means we might not fully honor the true value of contact. We rip off a snide remark, +1 a post or Favorite something reflexively, without thought. And while in life we can't predict the response to our actions (I never meant to antagonize my peeps) we can own those actions. We can be responsible for the social aspect of our on-line life.
We can say, I'm sorry.
Building community is about deepening empathy and care (that's right – I said it) for each other on a level beyond just the surface of a simple avatar. Who's getting married, divorced, who's just had a baby? Who's struggling for that promotion, taking that big step and moving or changing their career focus with a a sense of apprehension?
There are lots of ways to “do” #SoMe: the choice is yours. Keep in mind though that there's a real person behind that cute user name. In your efforts to network and increase your Klout score keep the social side of #SoMe in your consciousness.
Beware the thin skin.