24 Mar Staying Timeless and Meaningful on Social Media
Social media changes constantly. On the surface, it’s all about the trends. Logging in to see what’s new has become one of the most prominent addictions of our time. And the kicker is that most of the content doesn’t stick out in our minds after we read it. Some people don’t even read what’s on their pages at all! A study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute found 6-of-10 people share links to articles they don’t read. Stats like this can make us wonder what it takes to make lasting impressions in seemingly inhospitable online environments.
What we post can never truly be erased, but that doesn’t mean people are going to re-Tweet photos of those cute, lacy earmuffs in the summer. While it can be argued some innocuous fluff is an integral part of a healthy social media diet, it isn’t always substantial enough to justify an entire page, though many try. These pages might get a lot of attention, but consider the kind. Unless your goal is to garner quick shares and attention (which is totally fine, by the way) you might wonder how to keep that well-thought-out post from sliding further and further down the timeline. Hint: you really can’t.
Why do you want to your posts to be recognized? I’m asking because there’s a difference between being meaningful and forcing a message to impress others. So, the question then veers away from how to be meaningful on social media to how to live in a way that reflects what you post. The people who know you will be able to tell if you live according to those inspirational quotes on your wall.
This isn’t to say you have to share intimate things you’re not comfortable showing the world. It also doesn’t mean you have to post life-or-death stuff to be taken seriously (unless you want to). You can be as gentle, light, and humorous as you like. Just be you. One of the things you’ll find by being true to yourself is that you’ll touch other people. This is not only because they detect and appreciate your sincerity, but because they get to see themselves in you.
The most inspirational posts tickle our emotions. It’s really just like other powerful books, films, and music. The ones we remember are translations of our dearest values and feelings, which are a universal experience. You know what I’m talking about. Love, joy, sadness (maybe even depression), laughter, pain, hatred, peace. We’ve all got it.
Now this is all well and good for personal social media pages but surely this model can’t work for businesses, which have agendas. It sure can, but I see where this is going. It is a bit different. Companies have goals, to sell products and services. This is okay, necessary even. However, this does not have to be an excuse to just use social media as a sales tool. It’s also a fantastic avenue for them to share their company’s values which, again, might or might not be serious. It can allow them to strengthen customer loyalty and make impressions.
Something businesses and individuals can do over social media is share related, but not personally produced, content on their pages. Because feelings and experiences are prevalent in all of us, putting other people’s words out there can strengthen bonds and allow you to be an open source of wisdom.
To wrap this up, social media is an exquisite modern tool that allows us to share things of value. But in order for it to empower you, you have to make sure you don’t get used by it. This means not squeezing a message into 140 characters or less if it doesn’t fit, and not slapping a filter on top of a photo that’s already beautiful. The other great thing about this medium is that it lets us stay connected. That isn’t just a nifty slogan, but it will certainly seem hollow if you lose connection to yourself.