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Summertime meditations on social media (part 2): Twitter for…narcissists? PR musings, Social media

It seems as though blog posts appear someplace almost daily offering bulleted lists of sugarcoated Twitter tips. This one is different, I promise.

First, narcissism—extreme love of oneself—abounds in social media.

That’s no big surprise. A certain amount of narcissism—on Twitter, Facebook and social media, in general—is only to be expected. But here are some ways to at least give the appearance of being less self-absorbed.

Don’t tweet links alone
Those who tweet links only—without descriptive text—are narcissists, plain and simple. They’re under the misguided impression that their followers care enough to click a link, despite being given no compelling reason to do so—simply because the narcissist tweeted it.

News Bulletin: We usually neither care … nor click. (The same goes for cryptic-style comments. We really don’t care … and only the narcissist would think that we do.)

Don’t tweet about bodily misfortune
What about those truly non-compelling tweets—sometimes about stubbed toes, scraped knees, banged heads or other misfortune? It amazes me that people have the wherewithal, apparently while experiencing excruciating pain, to at first tweet about it. And it astonishes me even more that they think people care. (Even they won’t care when the pain subsides 10 minutes later.) Narcissism is at the core.

Don’t tweet ‘F-bombs’ (or worse)
And then there are the “inappropriate” tweets—containing “F bombs” (and, occasionally, worse). Often oblivious to their own obnoxiousness, narcissists don’t care who they offend. (And, sorry to say, I think some 20-somethings and celebrities are often the worst offenders.)

To the narcissist, everyone should unequivocally love him or her—and their tweets—no matter how offensive or non-substantive they might seem. Sure, we can unfollow the narcissist—but unless your goal is to be unfollowed, don’t be inappropriate, and try not to be inanely mundane.

‘Old dogs’ with old lessons for new media
My early career training in “traditional media”—I’ve referenced my radio roots here before—serves me (and some of my RIT News colleagues) well in the new-media realm of social media.

Even an ‘old dog’ can teach a few tricks.

In broadcasting, an overarching aim is to strive always be timely and topical, interesting and relevant whenever “cracking” the microphone. And know your audience (and give your listeners good reasons to remain as your listeners).

Remarks about stubbed toes and esoteric “inside comments” (that few people “get”) just don’t cut it (nor, most certainly, do “F-bombs”).

For all the challenges they face due to the recent sea change in “old media,” traditionally trained communication professionals (radio/TV/print) can teach a thing or two about creating good content. Strive to be:

• Interesting and relevant
• Timely and topical
• Helpful, if possible (always good)
• Appropriate and non-offensive

Your goal, in short, is to be compelling (and think before you tweet).

Incidentally, these tips apply not only to Twitter, but to speaking, writing, Facebook posting and all forms of public communication.

“F-bombs” (or worse), in particular, can make the speaker/writer appear to be uncouth, uneducated, unprofessional. Is that the image you want to project?

Next time: Foursquare (unvarnished)

Miss part one? Read it here: Summertime meditations on social media (part 1): Twitter for ‘newbies’

Follow me on Twitter: @MikeSaffran

  1. Mike Johansson
    Aug 04

    Good post Mike ... that I fear will essentially not reach those who most need it.

    If you're interested there is a neat little Venn diagram here that gets at this a little: jeffesposito.com/2010/12/20/social-media-venn-diagram

  2. Moll Johnson
    Aug 04

    Mike you should make that phrase "think before you tweet" a bumper sticker!

  3. Mike Saffran
    Aug 06

    Mike, thanks—I very much like the diagram and blog post by Jeff Esposito. And I figured I’m probably not the first person to conclude that narcissism is in abundance in social media (it’s hard to miss, isn’t it?).

    Molly, great idea! :-)

  4. Mike Saffran
    Aug 08

    Here’s an interesting related article that I stumbled across:

    Don’t Blame Facebook for the Narcissism Epidemic

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