by Daneen Skube, Interpersonal Edge
For most contemporary businesses, digital advertising and social media are important marketing tools. But social media can also be an important tool for individuals. Daneen Skube, executive coach, trainer, therapist, and speaker, addresses how to effectively manage personal social media.
Q: New reports from whistleblowers about social media platforms make me wonder how social media affects my workplace. How can I take charge of how I use social media? Also how do you think government will respond to make social media more beneficial?
A: You can take charge of your social media interaction by realizing social media platforms often use anxiety to make you click. In addition, before posting anything on social media consider how it will affect you if future employers see your posts.
Using fear to keep consumers engaged is nothing new. Many news programs habitually start broadcasts with a house fire to scare watchers and make them wonder what other dangers are lurking.
What’s new is our pervasive engagement with social media. Studies show that social media can be especially damaging to teens. Some research shows that the more time teens spend on Instagram the worse they feel about themselves. However, teens also fear being rejected if they’re not on Instagram.
Leaders within social networks are unlikely to be plotting the downfall of society. The trouble is the artificial intelligence that powers social media sites knows that more clicks mean more profit. Most businesses will choose profit over social benefit.
Now industry and government are brainstorming how to change programs used by social platforms so they don’t encourage fear, self-loathing, and misinformation. I’d predict we’ll see more government boundaries. Free speech is already limited to avoiding social damage i.e. you cannot yell “fire!” in a crowded theater.
Tips on how to effectively manage personal social media
If you’re conscious that social media can use your anxiety or negative judgments about yourself to keep you clicking you can be a savvy user. Netflix has a documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” that helps explain how to be a discerning consumer.
Obviously staying up all night clicking because you’re anxious or feeling bad doesn’t make you productive. You have a right to be as choosy about your media consumption as you are your diet. Junk food and junk media consumption both have negative effects.
Also think carefully before you post personal data, opinions, or personal photos. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens on the internet does not stay on the internet but is available to everyone forever.
I recommend my clients take on the job of being their own public relations company. If you had an adviser looking out for your privacy or professional reputation would she or he encourage you to post what you habitually post?
There’s has been a great deal of national coverage about our lack of privacy. Then again, many of us give away our personal data to loyalty programs, post when we’re out of town for burglars, and undermine professional reputations with pictures or opinions that cost us opportunities.
Just as we need to become good consumers of media, we have the same responsibility to become good creators of media. Social networks are a tool. Just as with a hammer, the tool can build a house or cause damage.
Sociologists have pointed out that people, especially teens, are becoming less empathic. When they post a cruel remark on social media they cannot see the hurt in someone’s eyes. The lack of feedback when we’re hurtful encourages people to use social networks with no thought of the emotional consequences.
As a culture we consider kindness important. However, the anonymity of social platforms makes verbal cruelty seem victimless. Then we may use the same trolling language on the job.
The likely outcome will be better computer programs considering social impact. However, don’t wait until the government legislates new rules. Take a look at whether you’re using social media or whether it’s using you. Change your social network consumption to content that’s accurate, empowering, and promotes your well-being.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist, and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
© 2021 Interpersonal Edge. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.