Finding Your Social Media Zen

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(CC) Image courtesy djfoobarmatt

Close your eyes. That’s it, take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

Sometimes all you need to do is take a step back from the social media world to find a little bit of perspective.

About two months ago, I attended the Type-A-Mom conference. There was a fantastic panel on community and staying positive in the blogosphere. Let’s face it; it’s easier to be negative rather than positive.

The overall gist of the panel was that sometimes people act before thinking; that they don’t really consider what will happen when you put something out there for social media consumption.

Once you encounter a topic or issue that you have an educated opinion about, you get that itch to just shout out from the social media rooftops. Whether it’s a company that changed its logo, customer service gone awry, or a publicist that sent you the wrong pitch – yes, I agree these are all irritating issues. At the end of the day, does a logo really affect your life that much? What if that publicist could lose their job because of your public call-out?

Using social media as a venting mechanism can be therapeutic, but it can also have consequences for not just you or your professional reputation, but also the person you are targeting.

I’m not saying social media venting doesn’t have its advantages; now many companies use Twitter and Facebook to monitor customer service issues, and the response time can be quicker than the navigation of an automated phone system. However, I also think before you hit “send,” take a breather. Really think about what you are putting out there in the cyber world. Does it really belong “out there,” or is it something you could talk to people off-line about? Could it be taken the wrong way? And, what are the downsides to putting it out there?

Yes, controversy can drive web traffic or get you more Twitter followers, but is it really necessary all of the time?  Before you step up to the negativity plate, why don’t you try turning off that computer/mobile device and step away from the social media scene. Take the time to think first. Like I always tell people in relationships, sometimes you just need to choose your battles wisely.

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  • Jenna Cerruti

    I loved this post, and I often see peers publicly complaining on social media sites. While social media outcries are sometimes used as a last resort after horrible customer service on the phone or e-mail, generating negative buzz around a personal issue with a company is unproductive. As PR professionals, or in my case, PR students, aren’t we supposed to engage in conversations with companies in hopes of maintaining healthy, two-way conversations? This is the way we network and discover new ways of communicating with our publics. I think talking about it with peers, and involving more than one perspective, is a better way to vent without publicly hurting a company’s reputation.