Our family has been traveling this week for spring break. My in-office, day-to-day tactics seem to have me focused on tunnel vision in a way – looking at my clients and their competitors, and simply keeping things rolling, digging deeper on the creativity for their business. Being away from the office has allowed me time to take a look at what others are doing on social who, perhaps, are not related to my clients or my business at all. Here’s what I’ve seen: there’s a lot of junk out there. There’s a lot of social activity happening that makes me shake my head and say, “what on earth is this person thinking?”

Photo credit: K. Shapira

True, I have a teenager who is active on social and she’s learning her way, so giving guidance and suggestions is reasonable and acceptable. We talk about proper grammar and about appropriate photos. “That’s your personal brand,” I tell her. And if your personal brand is full of bad lighting and misspellings, what does that say about you? It’s a work in progress but so far, she seems to take my [unsolicited] advice in stride and recognizes that maybe – just maybe – I’ve got some advice to which it’s worth listening.

But what if – in a perfect world – we could give advice to those who aren’t 13? What if I could say “STOP!” to those who should know better, whose every post makes me cringe, roll my eyes or want me to click “unfollow”? Living in a house on spring break with friends who follow different accounts than I do, I’ve been introduced to some I never knew existed. And now I’m fascinated – fascinated by the awfulness I see.

I get that not everyone volunteers to share information and photos of their children online. But then I can’t understand how they turn around and share every detail about their own life online.

Here are some examples of what I’ve seen:

  • Mundane details like “I’m going to work” and “I’m home from work.” Really? Didn’t many of us do this today?
  • Very long captions that go on and on and on and represent you as a complete narcissist.
  • Hashtags that don’t necessarily make any sense but are there to help your post be forced into a search for said tag.
  • Bad grammar.
  • Selfies, selfies and more selfies.
  • Did I mention narcissism?
  • The same selfie over and over. Listen, less is more.

As someone who consistently focuses on a brand and how to make that brand stand out and shine among a swirling network of content, it’s important that we take those guidelines into practice on personal brands too. If you’re overposting or posting photos of your selfie multiple times per day, maybe think again. Think about how your image is represented. As it is said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If the beholder is only following your account to roll their eyes, then perhaps it’s time to rethink your strategy.

For a company’s social accounts, we always want to be thoughtful of someone’s time – someone who has taken a moment to not scroll past our posts and ignored us. We want to make it worth their while. The same is true for personal accounts too.

Sometimes I wish we could remind people what life was like before we started displaying our every action online. Those oversharing – what did they do before instagram existed? I can’t even remember.

For now, I’m going back to the beach.


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