I remember the first time I saw the downside of social medial. Around 2003 a fellow high school classmate built an alumni forum website for our school, and invited me to join. I wasn’t sure how it worked, so I logged on and watched for a few days before I dared post my thoughts.
It was immensely fun, and I enjoyed the potential for seeing people register who I hadn’t seen or heard from in years.
But all good things gotta come to an end. The downside started the next year as the 2004 presidential election campaigns ramped up and folks started to overshare about what everyone else was saying. At first I thought the hard feelings were being exaggerated, until one member contacted me personally to say they were leaving because someone had actually threatened them in a private message – over a political disagreement!
Mind you, we’d had some healthy detailed discussions that were on a mature level, where we’d disagree with someone else without disparaging them, just explaining carefully why our thoughts differed. Nevertheless, I was beginning to see the wisdom in the old adage “Never discuss politics at the dinner table”, or any other place for that matter.
After being on Facebook for ten years and then starting my voiceover business, I had a second epiphany: if I was going to have an online business presence, I would have to consider how my personal opinions on politics, religion and anything else might impact whether a potential customer might or might not choose to do business with me. While I’m the biggest supporter of one’s right to express an opinion, I chose discretion over valor and decided I would forego direct political commentary online from now on.
On the delta side, it does stifle some of my creativity, because I’ve always enjoyed articulating my thoughts on paper and creating a clear coherent message about my opinions. But that is easily cancelled out by having fewer emotional roller coaster rides caused by someone posting something that is, in my humble opinion, really idiotic – and who is just itching to be taken down a peg or two!
LOL, indeed. Time is short, and social media is now my tool to promote myself to potential clients – not a soapbox for me to vent just so I can feel good about my baser instincts for a few minutes each day.
How about you readers out there? What other have you experienced with social media? Any tips or horror stories you’d like to share? Just click on “Leave A Reply” in the upper right. I’d love to hear from you (Please – no spam or sales message, those WILL be deleted).
That’s all for this week. I’m going to take some Alleve and try to ease the muscle soreness I’ve been having the last week. My wife and I started working out at the gym two weeks ago, and my body is still not accustomed to it even though I’ve been trying to ramp up slowly. Guess I’ll have to slow it down some more and stay at one level for a month before starting to push harder – I’m not in my twenties any more.
For now keep your best voice forward, and remember that clients aren’t always impressed by oversharing. Take care.