Like most people, I have a complicated relationship with social media. On the one hand, posting is free labor for multi-billion, growth-at-all-cost megacorporations that have left us drowning in misinformation. On the other, to put it bluntly, it is where the people are. So if you’re trying to build a reputation for a business or anything else, your only other option is a classified ad in the newspaper.
So I’m still taking the marketing course. That means I have to use my social media more often. What does that look like?
It looks like more posting on Twitter. The platform allows me to use automation services like buffer.com, and I can use their analytics to figure out what kind of content spreads. I get more engagement out of Facebook, but it’s more for keeping in touch with people I already know. Same with instagram. Those platforms also don’t allow automated posting, so I’ll be using them less often.
It also means a bit of Spring cleaning. I’ve been on Facebook and Twitter for more than 10 years, and I don’t need anything I said 10 years ago to embarrass me now. I also want to make separate online identities, basically having a public identity for stuff I create, and private accounts for stuff I consume. Not everybody needs to know I subscribe to wikipedia titles that sound like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I also want to stop following accounts that don’t follow me back. I’m trying cut down on the para-social relationships, you know?
Facebook and Twitter both offer options to download and archive your data. On Twitter, you can use tweetdelete.com to delete all of your tweets before a certain date. Deleting Facebook and instagram posts is trickier because they are more nervous about any automated activity on their site. Plus, they want to make removing your data as slow and ponderous as humanly possible.
When it comes to separating your online identities, you’re going to have accounts you’ll want to keep, accounts you’ll want to get rid of, and accounts you’ll want to follow on another account. To make this process easier, there’s a tool called Phantom Buster that will scrape all that data from your Instagram and Twitter and put it in a handy csv spreadsheet. Phantom Buster is capable of much more complex monitoring tasks, but if you just need to scrape a couple of personal accounts, their 14 day free trial is all you need.
It’s hard to believe after all this time we are still figuring out how this internet thing is supposed to work. What to post, where to post, and how to post is still an open question for most of us. I still think we adhere to the pareto principle here. 80% of the content is likely produced by only 20% of the users. So if you are taking the time to post essays, take photos, or anything else on the internet that’s not consuming, you are already part of an exclusive club. I hope I’ve shown you some tools that can help you manage your online identity in a way that makes you feel comfortable. At its best, social media can help people build communities that just aren’t possible in the real world. I hope to be speaking with more of you out there really soon.
Again, if you want to see me write more without the social media companies getting in the way, you can always subscribe to my mailing list. I’ve figured out the mailchimp templates this time, I promise!