Surviving the Social Web: 7 Things You Need to Know

Surviving the Social Web: 7 Things You Need to Know

Reader Comments (31)

  1. Hey Sonia,
    I really liked that termed “ant shakers” for the ones whose sole aim of using social media is creating chaos and disturbing the pleasant atmosphere of the country, community and bringing in some trouble fro others.
    That description was awesome and how come you have been using social media since 1989?

    • Because I am very, very old. 🙂 I got started on The WELL in 1989 — it was one of the very early digital communities, and a great (but cranky and flame-prone) place to hang out.

  2. Nice article but you were on social media in 1989? Really? Love to know what sites you had accounts with and I wouldn’t count CompuServe or UseNet.

    The first recognisable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular.

    • The label was different back then, we called them virtual communities, but I assure you, the behavior was roughly 95% identical to what you see today on Facebook or other social sites, minus quite as much fake news.

      The WELL was my primary hangout, but I also spent tons of time on GEnie. And I worked for a social site called 101 Online, which was an attempt to bring the French Minitel to the U.S.

      Not counting CompuServe or Usenet would be pretty silly, imo. Or the early BBSes. Not to mention AOL, which launched in 91, and where I had an account but never particularly took to it.

      These are, of course, the kinds of distinctions that people like to get into arguments about on the internet.

  3. Point #3 is so crucial…

    When managing a business page you need to treat it completely different to a personal page. While a personal approach is good to attract comments and replies, you do still need to be professional. That said, it is also important not to flood your feed with call-to-action statuses or else you will be pretty much forcing users to hit the dreaded unfollow button! Content is key, people like to read interesting things on social – they don’t like to be sold to…

    Another great read Sonia, thanks so much for sharing.

    • Agree, it might have been wiser to say “act like a smart business,” not just “act like a business.” Plenty of businesses have a pretty confused idea of what kinds of marketing work on social. 🙂

  4. 300 baud, but fortunately the floppy disk had undeniably replaced the tape drive by then. I saw War Games at the theater with some buddies who said, “No way NORAD would use a 300-baud modem.” Geek out!

  5. Thanks for distilling this wisdom down to the essential elements. I’ve been on the same road as you for about the same amount time (The Well Back in the day) and if I could be inspired enough, I would have said the same things but not as well.
    I wish there were drivers licenses on the Information Superhighway. If there were, this should be printed on the back.

  6. Sonia, I did some lurking on the Well way back when (though I couldn’t get my posts to post with that damn quill pen). I know there’s a copy of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog somewhere in my house. And yeah, 300 baud—I remember using MCI Mail and thinking classroom notes might be better.

    Anyway, that’s enough grey whisker shedding on your site. Great stuff on the goods and bads of digital communities, and thanks for the reminder on manners. (The web is the best place for a pink-haired Ms. Manners.)

    • Legit lol on the quill pen thing. These youngsters today do not realize.

      Thanks for the shared grey whisker shedding, I like to indulge every once in awhile. 🙂

  7. Hello Sonia..
    I’ve been using social media 10 years, and now I feel like it is a hard day without checking any updates on them. The benefit I could see is – it looks easier to engage with prospective customers. Out of it, I frequently feel overwhelming when people share their unimportant status and tag me on it: totally annoying!

  8. Hey,

    Thanks for the amazing post.
    It is very important to not to mix personal profile with your business page.Although it depends on the type of business you are doing. But still its good to have a specific goal oriented Business page.
    Thanks again.

  9. #3: If you’re in business, act like it
    This one can go the other way around as well. I’ve seen people using their business social media accounts to post personal messages.

    • That one is always interesting, because a human voice can be extremely useful on a business page, especially for a small, founder-driven business. But there’s definitely that line beyond which the personal stuff gets to be too much. Tricky, sometimes.

      • Great article Sonia and I agree about the fine line between business and social. Its great to encourage businesses to post behind-the-scenes type content but not surprising that some business owners then get confused about what’s ok and what isn’t. One thing I see a lot is having a LinkedIn photo of a couple, a logo, so distant you can see a face or no photo at all. People want to connect with other people.
        The other thing is posting quizzes (or cat videos!) on LinkedIn that aren’t related to your business in any way. Its about recognising what each platform is for and respecting what other users are there to do.

  10. A social web presence for any business in this day and age is paramount to the future success of any business. My current problem I’m sure like many others is the procrastination and amount of time wasted just by looking through the myriad of social accounts.

    I like your points on acting like a business and not pushing your content onto your personal friends. I’ve found many just don’t care and you need to access a specific niche of people to gain traction.

    Minding your manners can sometimes be testing, you always get a know-it-all, who when given an explanation to an issue seems to thrive on conflict and taking it to the next level.

    Thanks for the post Sonia

  11. Hi Sonia,
    Useful tips for managing our social presence. Ant shakers are so true. There is always someone who divides the community.
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great post Sonia! I agree there are “ant-shakers” who enjoy creating chaos on social media. And they will never realize the impact of their actions to other people.

  13. Hi Sonia,
    Thanks for this article. I’m going to print it out and post above my desk. Really enjoyed it.

  14. LOL..Thanks Sonia, a colleague shared this post with me and I love the “Ant Shakers” analogy, you should trade mark it and make it the next viral online saying! I totally agree with the smaller group statement. The more focused you can keep a group while maintaining that critical mass, leads to better comments and more constructive input…while keeping out the “Ant Shakers”!

  15. Hey Sonia,

    Great article! Thank you – totally agree with all the points you’ve mentioned!

    There are a couple of things that have really resonated with me. Firstly, in regards to ant-shakers, when you mention that “the pain and anger they cause are real emotions attached to real people”. I think it can sometimes be forgotten, because we are not face to face, that when people communicate online, or even when we talk about our own ‘traffic’, we are talking to real complex human beings instead of numbers, or a username. How we hold ourselves in the offline world should share the same principals online.

    I’ve also checked out Freedom, and it is really interesting isn’t it?! What an awesome idea. Something I find works for me is scheduling my posts/tweets through Buffer. I find it goes a long way at ensuring I remain focused solely on what I need to do for that social media platform, as opposed to getting distracted. Putting time aside, once scheduled, to engage, like/re-tweet etc seems more productive and purposeful that way.

    Thanks again for the article Sonia!


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