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The Otter Lodge Guide to Social Media, Part 2

For part one of this guide, click here.

Due to an overwhelmingly sympathetic response to part one of this list (and the fact that I was going to do this anyway), we are back with more do’s and don’t’s of social media. To the list!

Do: Follow the accepted practices of each platform.

Twitter limits its tweets to 140 characters. This is so you’ll keep your ideas short and concise, and find a way to fit them within that parameter. It is NOT so you’ll take your, long, rambling diatribe and spread it out over 9 tweets, each ending with a fraction to tell us which part in the series it is (e.g. “4/9” = Part 4 of 9 in Sam’s scathing response to President Barack “Hussein” Obama’s anti-American views on immigration. This is only part 4, so stay tuned for more half-baked thoughts and run-on sentences!)

Tweets are supposed to be short for a reason. Nobody wants to read your manifesto there. If you need to push your long form ideas on the rest of the world, get a blog. Like I did.

Don’t: Overdo it.

“Hashtags! My nephew’s roommate Braden – a bona fide “social media expert,” btw – said something about hashtags once. I’m on twitter now, trying to promote something. I must use hashtags! I must use them, now, always, and forever! It’s what Braden would do!”

This seems to be the line of thinking for many a social media user (hashtags extend to Facebook and Instagram now, and probably other stuff, too), especially those promoting products or managing their company’s page. I applaud the effort, but we end up with updates that look like this:

#Tech junkies: did you know some of your favorite #brands are #closingthegap on #integrated media? Check out our detailed #analysis on market #trends: #brands #techjunkies #marketexplosion

I won’t get in to the actual point behind hashtags here, but bottom line: those are helping no one. Nobody is searching twitter for “#integrated.” Plus, it looks unappealing. One or two strategic or funny hashtags are great, but like everything else here, less is more.

Do: Work out.

Going to the gym: I support it!

Don’t: Tell everyone every time you work out.

Sharing photos/statuses of you at the gym: I do not support it! And neither does anyone else in the world!

You’re working out. We’re happy for you. Guess what though? If you don’t post about it on social media, the workout still counts. Your body will still accept it. Hooray for health!

Do: Share old photos of you and your loved ones.

That stuff’s great, especially if it’s more than 15 years old. It’s fun to see you as a shaggy teen, before the rigors of life turned you into a straight-laced, no nonsense regional manager. Keep it coming.

Do: Remember to live first, post second.

We’re ending with a back to back “do” here, because that’s how the Lodge rolls. Bottom line: remember to just do the fun things in life, without having to always prove to everyone that you did them. I get you want to share the cool things on social media. I do it. We all do. But maybe not all of them, always. Maybe it’s okay to just do that cool thing, and share it with the people who were there, and not the whole world.

Some of my best times in life have been during quiet times on social media; a weekend in the mountains with my lady, or a thursday night jam session with the boys. Sure, maybe I’ll post a single pic or a random thought to Twitter, but the rest of the time, it’s radio silence. And not forcing myself to photograph and share every little piece of it with the world allows me to be present in the moment, and focus on enjoying the things that are happening, rather than documenting them.



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