In our recently released social media report we found that a lot people were uncomfortable doing social media because they thought they may come across as foolish online.
What a shame it is that society tries so hard to force us all into little, perfect, boxes. Most people don’t realize that conformity is death (or at the least invisibility).
“I am not comfortable with social media. I don’t want to look like a fool.”
Look, we all have our insecurities, especially in public settings.
It is bad enough when someone we love finds fault in private. It can feel devastating when “everyone” sees us screw something up. Whether it is speaking in front of a group live or online through a Facebook post, our insecurities come out. We can act tough. But inside, it can feel like a punch to the gut to make a public plunder.
We heard in the survey:
- “I fear that I will post a typo and not be able to recall it and look like an idiot.”
- “I fear that…what I have to say isn’t important.”
- “We will come off as unprofessional in our efforts to seem personable. Don’t know how to use most of it and don’t want to mess it up.”
- “Putting unhelpful information out there.”
- “Overdoing postings that will annoy and/or turn off clients rather than excite them.”
Looking the social media fool
The old sayings are true, “We are only human” and “no one is perfect”. Yet we still fear making a mistake that tarnishes our personal or our organization’s reputation.
The tips below will help you overcome this concern (but not totally destroy it; even world-class speakers get butterflies and fear screwing-up).
- Realize that you are your own worst critic. We all are. People forget things we have said and done within minutes, yet we stew on stupid mistakes for years. We need to realize that others are focused on themselves and their lives, not so much on you. Get over yourself and give yourself a break. Unless you have done something egregiously foolish, it is best to laugh at yourself and forget it.
- If you do decide you need to go back to fix something online, know that you can usually edit your posts nowadays. If you have posted an image to Facebook and included text, that text can be edited (this is another good reason to always post an image). Most comments on Facebook can now be edited too. Just look for the little pencil icon. If you screwed up a Tweet, delete it and repost. LinkedIn gives you a few minutes to edit yourself once you have posted. Google+ allows you to edit your posts and comments.
- Read all your posts and comments at least twice before hitting send. Copy and paste into Word to double-check for spelling and grammar. Read your post backwards, word by word. Errors will surface that are invisible when reading left to right. Be extra careful with words that spellcheck won’t catch. “Their, they’re and there” type of mistakes drive people mad. As does “your and you’re.” Check out “10 Words You Need to Stop Misspelling” at http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling. The world won’t come to an end with a misspelling here or there. But when people start noticing a lack of attention to detail (or education), you start to look bad. You don’t have to be perfect. But do be careful.