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The Otter Lodge Guide to Social Media, Part 1

The social media scene is such a two-faced animal; great for keeping up with old friends, sharing your thoughts and ideas, and learning new things about people you know, and terrible for those exact same reasons. We all get annoyed from time to time by the things we see on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Instagram, yet we keep coming back. Its hold on us is unrelenting.

But let’s face it: some people are more annoying than others in the social department of the ‘ol world wide web. We all have at least one friend who makes us cringe every time they post another annoying photo/video/political status. And if you can’t identify that friend, chances are, it’s you.

But there’s good news! The Otter Lodge is here with a few helpful tips to ensure you’re not that guy (or gal). We’ll call them do’s and don’t’s of social media, and as always, they’re brought to you with a pure heart and the best intentions. So:

Do: Share important moments in your life.

Get engaged? A promotion? Run the table in a beer pong tournament? We want to hear about it! Sharing important life events like these are what social media are all about. Post a photo or status and let the likes roll in.

Don’t: Share every moment in your life.

As with drinking and recreational drug use, it’s easy to take a good thing and go overboard. If you find yourself posting many times a day, writing meaningless run-on sentences, or just using the term “LOL” a lot, please, step away from the keyboard and cleanse yourself in the nearest body of water. Like many things in life, social media are more enjoyable when you use them sparingly. How many times have you said to yourself, “man, it’s annoying how little (Person X) posts on Facebook”? Probably never. When in doubt, it’s better to say nothing.

Here’s a good test: take whatever it is you’re about to post, and assume everyone else will find it exactly half as interesting as you. (They generally do.) If this level of interesting will still add value to others’ lives, you’re good to go. If not, move it along.

Do: Have (at least a small amount of) respect for punctuation and grammar.

I understand. This is the internet. It’s not the Harvard Law Review. The rules are more relaxed. We’re not looking for perfection here. But please, write in a way that if a person had to answer whether or not you’d completed the third grade, they would at least consider checking “yes.”

Don’t: Communicate with your significant other through Facebook.

Chances are, you read this one and thought to yourself, “well, duh.” Congratulations! You are a sane adult. But believe it or not, there’s a fringe group that will actually do their couple communication through public Facebook wall posts. Such as:

“Hey babe. Just wanted to say I love you and you make me SOOOOOO happy!!!”

Terrific that you feel this way!  May I suggest actually telling your “babe” this, and not the entire internet, which is what you’re doing when you post it to Facebook.

“I’ll be home around 7, can’t wait to see you ;)”

I’m confident he/she can’t wait, either, but are either of you equipped with a device that would send a text message, email, or make a phone call? Perhaps the very device you used for this post?

Do: Share photos of your kid.

Fact: you love your kid. Your parents love your kid. Your siblings love your kid. Hell, your friends might even love your kid. They want to see pictures and check up on the little bugger’s growth. A great way to do this efficiently is a social media post.

Don’t: Unrelentingly share photos of your kid.

You already posted a kid pic this week? Great! You’re set on that front at least until next week. Heck, why not give yourself the rest of the month off? Spend some time with that kid without photographing and uploading it. You’ve earned it.

What now? You’re uploading 8 more photos? Right now? I’m not sure that’s necessary. We just saw a few of him/her this morning. Our daily craving for pictures of your kid is satisfied. And wait…those are all basically the same photo. The pose is hardly even different. The kid…the kid is making the same face he/she made last week, too. That’s not a new face. We’ve seen that face. No, wait! That doesn’t mean I’m asking for more! Wait! No!

The truth is gang, when we see your little bundle of joy on our feeds every damn day, we start to grow immune to his/her charms. Maybe even sour a little. And we definitely don’t want to sour on your kid due to overexposure. I know, for you, it could never be too many pictures. After all, it’s YOUR kid. It came from YOUR body. You love it more than life itself. Understandable. Just remember, for the rest of us, there’s a limit.

Click here for part 2. 

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