The Dark Side of Being a Social Media Evangelist
- I sincerely believe that the societal changes that social media is facilitating is nothing short of awe-inspiring and human species impacting.
- I believe social media tools change us and those tools are game changers, tectonic plate shifting, and amazingly mind expanding.
- I am the dork who cares what you ate for breakfast (and where you ate it, who you ate it with, and if it was yummy).
- I don’t think you are a narcissistic jerk to talk about yourself. In fact, I want you to upload more pictures!
- I don’t think that Twitter is just another “tool” no different than all the other traditional networking tools we’ve been using for the last 100 years.
- I don’t think social media is just for crazy kids with zero attention spans and nothing better to do than text. Social media is for everyone.
- I am convinced that people who use social media think differently than the ones who don’t.
- And, yeah, the sub-script to the statement above is I believe that those on social media think better, not just differently, than the ones who don’t get it.
- I secretly am very, very proud that my 70+ year old mother is online. Yeah, my Mom is cooler than your Mom, if your Mom is not on social.
- I feel social media is responsible for some of the most phenomenal shifts in the way we do business and interact with each other, like nothing else.
- I believe the very fabric of our lives – the political systems, monetary policies, communication infrastructure, and psychological evolution of humans and all we touch – is better off because of social.
I am a social media fan girl through and through. The future is here, it’s now, and it’s social. Yep, I’m THAT girl.
Recently, during a conversation with some non-social media friends – YES, I have them – I realized that there is a dark side to being a social media evangelist. For the record, I am wearing a black hoodie right now, just for good effect (because everyone knows what THAT means…you can’t rehabilitate the hoodie….)
Maybe you can relate to the Dark Side…
- You must develop world-class compassion and patience ninja skills – otherwise your head will explode after the 1000th time you are warned that thieves will break into your house if you say where you are at on social media.
- You will have to learn to change the subject when non-socials say that all social media ever did was invade our privacy and ruin people’s lives (although they usually admit that’s mostly politicians, who, let’s face it, kinda get what they deserve).
- You will have to bear the weight of incredulity in silence when people assert that Twitter is responsible for the decline of the eloquent use of language and the proper spelling of real words. Yes, these assertions will come from people who, even though they aren’t on Twitter, still aren’t great spellers, never seem to have noun/verb agreement, and who don’t get that their, there, and they’re are not interchangeable at will. Darn you Twitter!! *shakes her fist in the air*
- You will have to deal with that “fact” that Facebook is responsible for the general moral depravity now prevalent in mankind. No one sinned prior to social, in case you didn’t know. And, NO, don’t pull out the “TV sucked your brains out way before social existed” argument, because that’s just…well, communist or something…sheesh…
- You always have to listen to how society is doomed because no one writes letters anymore and we are all too lazy now because of that. #HallmarkToTheRescue
- You will end up with a forked tongue. Not because you are evil and speak lies (well, not just because of that) but rather because you have to bite your tongue so hard and so often to keep from yelling at people who have never been on social media but who are very convinced they have it figured out (and that it is evil, evil, evil).
- You have to remain as vigilant as you can to bridging the online and offline worlds, because those Offliners probably won’t budge. Flexibility in the face of modern change is not really their forte. It’s easy to lose your kindness when someone wants a copy of your presentation but they won’t do email, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, or Dropbox. How they want you to deliver that presentation, I am not sure, but this actually happened over the weekend to me. Wow. I think he finally decided that posting it to the website was “as good as I’m getting, I guess”. Yep, it is…you haven’t handed me a blank CD to burn for you and doggone it, I am plumb out of wood for smoke signals this week…sorry…*heavy sigh*
- You will be judged, more than ever, by the company you keep, even when you obviously and vocally take opposite positions to the folks that follow/friend you. For non-socials, hanging out in one place with porn stars, rappers, Christ believers, atheists, sports stars, moms, grey hairs, philanthropists, two-steppers, shotgun aficionados, cigar lovers, celebrities, Muslims, world citizens, nerds, techies, melancholy writers, PR professionals, alternative musicians, architects, pacifists, political wonks of every stripe, feminists, vegans, triathletes, motorcycle riders, and local weirdos (here, far, and wide) is simply Crazy Town. For me, that is my social neighborhood and I ADORE it.
- Last, and probably the thing that bugs me most – people think that, because I am a social media evangelist, I do not honor offline things. This last one could not be farther from the truth. Just because I believe in digital doesn’t mean I am not a loving and thoughtful person. If those Offliners would just admit it when they saw it, they’d be better off, both with me and with other Onliners. Last I checked, I only have one head and I don’t breathe out flames and my heart pumps red blood (and I bleed when I get cut). I am human, just like you, so I’d appreciate being seen that way.
Here’s some things I know I do and do not do, even as a social media advocate (and yes, not all of us do what I do, because even social media fan girls come in a wide variety of personalities..):
- I do not tweet constantly.
- I do write letters and occasionally send cards, although I have never been good at this ever in my life, even before the Internet.
- I take digital holidays.
- I don’t text during movies.
- I don’t multitask when I speak on the phone (unless we are working on something together that way).
- I regularly sit in meditation without a single digital device within arm’s reach.
- When there’s a baby to hug, I am hugging that baby, not touching my phone.
- When there is a friend who needs a shoulder, I am listening and paying attention to them. I am there 100%.
- When I have a funeral to attend, a wedding to celebrate, a parade to march in, or a Lions Camp camper house to paint, I am not on social. I am fully present with my loved ones.
Being a social media evangelist is hard work. But, I am one. You?
[graphics by Kevin Krejci]