“I’m so tired of the negativity.”
I thought that yesterday while perusing my Twitter timeline. As you may have seen on the social media site or read in my post on SBM about Black Twitter, someone made a comment about Beyonce’s relationship with her father over the weekend, which led to public outrage. And as you also know, people tend to get out of pocket online — both the “thought leaders” and those that follow them. So in this case, the person apologized for their comments, but I watched as wave after wave attacked her and alerted others to do the same. A branding and PR nightmare.
There were a few general lessons (and reminders) that emerged from this fiasco. I wanted to share some of them with you today:
If You Tweet It, You Can’t Delete It
Have you ever made a typo (internet misdemeanor) and not realized it until someone retweeted your message or replied to you? You can delete and update your original message, but you can’t delete what others have already shared, so you end up watching your typo mock you as it dances from tweet to tweet. Or maybe that just happens to me? Whatever. The point is:
Be careful what you put into the atmosphere; because once it’s out there, there’s no bringing it back. Awkward Boomerang.
This person’s message found its way to Solange, and most likely to one of her new employers. Whether there will be offline repercussions is still to be determined, but you really have to be thoughtful not just about what you say, but how you say it. One bad tweet could have you seeking asylum in Narnia. The unintentionally good thing about Twitter is that it breeds short attention spans, which means people move on to the next topic within a few days. But just because people aren’t talking about it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten. You don’t want people to see your name through a clouded window.
Your Followers Are Not Your Friends
Behold how good and how pleasant it is to have a large audience…until you do something that pisses them off.
The thing about blogs and social media platforms is that people follow you because they’ve assigned you a purpose. You’ve entered into an unspoken contract which can be terminated at any time. And once the follower or subscriber no longer receives the value he or she expects (a laugh, useful info, social validation through a return follow or replies, pictures of you scantily clad), he or she reserves the right to abandon you — or even worse, turn against you.
Real friends don’t watch you drown after you make a mistake or rub them the wrong way
unless they catch you sleeping with their significant other on a boat. They step in and offer their help and support even if they’re a little miffed. They also don’t take what you’ve shared with them and throw it in your face, which is what happened over the weekend (people brought her child into it) and leads me to the next point:
Stop Handing People Rocks to Throw at Your House
The blogging experts will tell you that if you want to build your tribe, you need to be relatable. You need to share your life with your readers so that they know you get it. So that they understand you in return and can get behind your story. If they sense that you’re holding back, they will withhold their trust. So yeah, drop your pants and be vulnerable.
This is a half-truth. I’ve struggled with this and have dealt with the effects of not putting myself out there. But in some of the situations that I have, I found out I had way more supporters than expected. In other situations, however, I found out what it meant to be called names and told how to live by people that don’t even get the tip of my iceberg.Pause. I also learned that what you share with anonymous people is almost guaranteed to bite you in the ass when solid waste hits the fan.
Your family and friends are not off-limits in online war.
Look, unless MTV is paying you, you shouldn’t have to put all the intimate details of your life out there just to draw in and maintain your audience. Real people go through shit. But real people also expect privacy. Your audience should understand that…if they’re real people. Keep that in mind as you unbuckle your belt.
You Control How Much Negativity Flows into Your Online Life
I find myself mentioning negativity fatigue a lot. It’s usually when I’m sitting at my computer reading tweets. Then I’ll comment about how my timeline is always on some foolishness. But then I realized it’s always the same people and, more importantly, I allow them to be there. And when I look at why I allow these people to infiltrate my timeline with their negativity, it’s usually because of their follower count, which deemed them influential, which meant I should follow them and “network.”
Social networking should be a positive experience. If you’re frustrated with your timeline, then you’re following the wrong people. Do you (willingly) surround yourself with negative people offline? No? Then why are you doing it here?
I suggest you try a social media herbal cleanse if you’re always logging into drama and Debbie flowing down your timeline. Just hit that unfollow or unfriend button and listen to the calming sound of the toilet flushing. Thank me later. Drake.
There are many other lessons that get all businessy and entrepreneurial, but I’ll save those for another day. Take care and as always, stay positive.