‘What does social media have to do with writing?’ you ask?
We write statuses, we write text for images, we’re supposed to read the terms and conditions…social media is all about manipulating people to get what you want and bragging about how amazing your life is (isn’t). Studies show that most people put on a false front of how great their life is, and positive statuses are more likely to be shared.
However, it’s easy to make mistakes, especially if you’re a beginner to social media, or not all that bothered about it. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of making these common social media mistakes (not following these rules just might come back to haunt you).
You Have a Novelty Name
Now, some novelty names are fine. Russell Brand’s @rustyrockets, for example. If your name contains any sort of expletive or is insulting in any way, potential employers will look at it and form a judgement. Keep that in mind when picking your username.
If you want to change your Twitter username, you can do it by clicking your profile picture, then clicking on ‘Settings’. This will take you to the ‘Account Settings’ page, where you can change these details.
The same rule applies to if your name shows up as Rusty Rockets rather than Russell Brand. It just makes you look immature. If you don’t want people to see what you post, make your account private. If you don’t want people to know your name on Twitter, perhaps you shouldn’t have an account in the first place.
Your Account Isn’t Private
Unless you’re in the public eye, I would recommend making your accounts private. Especially if you’re going to make controversial comments—unless you want to generate a discussion that could backfire. Be warned that it could still backfire with just your friends/followers involved.
The only social media site I wouldn’t advise making private is Twitter. Twitter is great for building a fan base, which can help writers in many ways.
You Don’t Watch What You Say
Never, ever, EVER treat social media like an online coffee shop. It’s not. It never was. It most definitely never will be.
I can’t emphasise that point enough.
— The Writer's Cookbook (@writingcookbook) January 8, 2015
Whatever you say, do, or post on social media never goes away. Even if you delete it, it’s still be retrievable, and there’s nothing to stop people from screen shotting it and it haunting you forever. This frequently happens to celebrities that post controversial things. Iggy Azalea, I’m looking at you.
Don’t take your bad moods out on social media. That’s not what it’s for. Not only will it make you look like a huge attention seeker, but it makes you look whiny, and no potential employer likes whiny. Facebook friends don’t, either.
You Add Your Co-Workers
Do this at your own risk. There’s nothing to say that you can’t communicate with co-workers via social media, but remember that anything you say about work they’ll be able to see, too. If you add your boss then proceed to complain about your boss or anything else to do with where you work, you’re asking to lose your job. Many stupid people have been fired for whinging about work/their bosses over social media. Don’t be one of them.
You Use it to Moan/Whinge/Attention Seek
I’ve lost count of the number of people on my Facebook timeline that post things like, ‘I hate my life,’ or ‘Things couldn’t get any worse’. Yes, life can and does suck sometimes. That doesn’t mean you have to attention-seek by posting to your hundreds of friends on Facebook. Most of them aren’t going to care, and the ones that do have your phone number and you can talk through how you’re feeling over the phone or in person. That way, whatever you say isn’t embedded in the internet for all time and can easily be stumbled upon by future employers, future partners and even future children.
Life isn’t always going to be perfect, but you don’t want to regret anything that you’ve posted when you look back on your life. You never know what will haunt you.
Positivity gets much further on social media than negativity. It’s worth keeping that in mind next time you’re after attention.
You Treat Every Social Media Site the Same
Facebook isn’t the same as Twitter. Twitter isn’t the same as Pinterest. Pinterest isn’t the same as Instagram. Instagram isn’t the same as LinkedIn. You get the point.
Before you join each social media site, do your research on it first. Some may seem similar on the surface, but they’re each aimed at different target audiences and can help you to achieve different things.
It’s easy to make mistakes on social media. However, once you stop treating social media like an online coffee shop and realise how much it can be used to your benefit in other ways (career-wise, for example), it can still be a fun way to interact with people, but with less risks.