Friday, January 13, 2012

Thoughts on Posting Things to Facebook and Other Social Media

[Cross-posted from OActivists]

I've been sitting on these thoughts for a few months, and since nobody
else seems to be doing this type of contemplation I'll share some
thinking I've been doing on performing activism on sites like
Facebook.

While a lot of it may be do to my own personal preferences and
psychology, I don't think people generally post content in the most
effective manner possible. After identifying what it is appeals to me,
I think a few changes in habits could make it so that social media
activism becomes more effective than I judge it's currently being.

1.) Quality over quantity: For one, I think people too often
concentrate on posting a lot of things rather than just honing in on
quality things. Sure, you may read ten articles a day, but how many of
your friends are going to read all ten of those articles if you link
to them, especially if you don't editorialize on them?

The main concern here is with burying a gem. If one of those articles
is truly great and tucked in between nine subpar pieces, then people
might pass up the gem by saying "too much; not going to read any of
it." While I don't follow this rule strictly, I try to make it a habit
to only link to the very best content I've purveyed in a single day,
usually just a single article. However, some exceptions can be made, I
think, if the second consideration is taken into account:

2.) Personalize it!: When I visit someone's Facebook page I want to
read about them, not some other people. I want to read about their
thoughts, their happenings, their actions, their habits -- not some
other person's. So on any particular Facebook page I tend to find I
have next to no inclination to click the links they post, since so
many either say very little about what they've posted or, worse yet,
nothing at all. If a link is posted, in order for me to be inclined to
click it I want to know that particular person's thoughts on it . . .
what *personal* worth they got out of it. Again, I visit a particular
person's page only to read about that person, so the only links I'm
remotely tempted to click are the ones people elaborated their
thoughts on: why they liked/hated it, what they got out of it, why we
should click it, and so on. Links without editorial content? Forget
it.

On a psychological note, I see this also applies to me when taking in
larger works such as essays. Whenever the author quotes someone it's
virtually a reflex of mine to just skip over it, because I came to
read what the author has to say and not some other people. As such,
when I construct links I editorialize on them, sometimes at length, so
that people can be motivated by the personal connection between me and
the material. When they visit my Facebook page they come to read about
me, after all.

3.) Be precise and humble: Don't overdo it and say that every other
article you've read is "great." Use your descriptives precisely and
with reserve so that they retain their emotional power. So often do
people read "great" articles that the word has become watered-down and
nearly negated in its persuasive power. Using words strictly garners
much more power.

Additionally, instead of saying an article is "good" or "great" try
resorting to other types of editorializing, such as how you
emotionally reacted ("I laughed myself breathless!"), how it's going
to alter your thinking and practices, and so on.

* * * * *

This type of reasoning applies to all social media, from Google+ to
Twitter. Hope it turns some thinking.

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