What do Your Social Media Posting Say about You?

Recently, someone said to me ‘you must live the happiest life ever’ I was shocked and said, ‘Why, do you think so?’ to which she replied ‘Well, your Facebook is full of pictures of reading, or going places and doing things and unless what you’re posting isn’t true – you’re living a happy life.’ I stammered a bit and assured my friend that I was not posting things that did not happen and that yes, it was all true. I even confirmed that I live a pretty happy life. But that conversation has made me think.

Photo Credit: Avakian Consulting

Several days later I related the above story to my friend Dawn Bugni. Dawn is a Master Resume Writer (one of only a handful in the world) and she is always insightful in her comments.  We were having dinner and as is common for our conversations we started talking about social media – Dawn and I met via Facebook, we learned twitter together back in the day, and we both successfully use social media to drive business to our respective ventures. When I related the above story to Dawn her reaction was ‘well, yeah! You don’t post a pic of cleaning the toilets, paying the bills or arguing.’ This naturally lead to discussions on things we have seen posted via social media that are inappropriate.

Here are a few examples:

  • status updates that nearly always contain some form of alcohol consumption;
  • status updates where you complain about money (especially if you often post about extravagant purchases – people put two and two together);
  • status updates that contain personal relationship information (I don’t want to know that much about your sex life – good or bad);
  • status updates that complain about an employer (yes, we all know why you change jobs regularly)
  • and the list goes on and on.

According to the consumer reports survey ‘Insurers, employers, and college admissions officers sometimes use social media to evaluate people. They may, for example, turn to a service such as Social Intelligence that scours public postings on Facebook and other social networks as part of a background check.’


via Mashable

69% of Human Resources managers say they’ve rejected job applicants because of what was on their social media pages and 25% of College recruiters say they are using Social Media as a means to determine to whom they send letters of acceptance.

It seems obvious that what you say in public reflects on you, on your life and on your character.

I like to believe that I do live a happy life and if you read my blog you know that is an active pursuit for me. I also learned at my mother’s knee that you always put your best foot forward in public (I don’t think that is just a southern thing). My father was a man who loved to build things; he often said to me ‘measure twice cut once’. It really just means be sure of your measurement before you make you cut. I believe this is an adage we can adapt to social media postings. Be sure of the picture you are painting of your life via social media.

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Social Media – You get out of it what You put into it

If you are a regular reader, or even just taken a casual glance at my blog, you know I rarely write about business. Not because I am not interested or because I don’t think about it or even because I have nothing to say. I rarely write about business because, well, it is just not as much fun. I would much rather write about how to be happy, or living positive, or even my adventures and photographs. However, there are occasions when I feel the need to share. This is one of those times.


photo via SEO Web Services

Last night I was invited to be a part of a panel discussion. The topic was tips to help small businesses succeed. The first speaker ran long so in order to allow for the question and answer time I cut my comments. I basically relayed the story from my January of 2010 blog post entitled ‘When Social Media Doesn’t Work – How to Avoid the Agony of Defeat”. The long and the short of the story is that I joined a gym and saw no results because I didn’t really go to the gym and workout. I related it to Social Media and how people claim it doesn’t work but really they have joined but don’t participate. They lose interest and say it doesn’t work when really they never did the work to make it work.

At the end of the session one of the panelists (a business coach) turned to me and said: ‘You know I used to encourage social media, I hit it hard, and it didn’t work. If I can’t do it no one can.’


I just nodded and wandered away. But the message he was sending was clear – he had missed my point completely! He had joined the craze but failed to do the work necessary to see results. Then claimed the process did not work! Just to be fair I took the time to look at his Facebook page; since April of last year he has posted nine times – YUP, NINE! I looked at his twitter and since June 2011 he has tweeted ZERO times! I am getting a clear picture of why social media doesn’t work for him.

I’m not here to harp on an old story, but if you want to lose weight by joining a gym you must go and workout. If you want to learn to play the piano, you must practice and if you want social media to work for you, you must participate.

Social Media isn’t magic – it is work! But the return on investments are high, if you put in the time and effort!

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Addition by subtraction

For months we have been having trouble with our internet! Sometimes we would drop service as much as 8 times an hour. We had encountered this problem when we first signed up for AT&T service (last May). Last year we had several techs visit to try to fix the problem….none were completely successful. In late summer we were so busy that we didn’t have time to deal with trying to get it fixed (and besides it was only dropping a few times a day).

This story could get REALLY long…but the short version is that we were approaching our contractual year of AT&T service and we were ready to move on!

On one particularly bad service day in mid-March, I took my complaints to twitter! Suddenly AT&T responded. After a few exchanges I received this response:

AT&T Twitter Conversation

I sent my information. I received a telephone call from AT&T. After a short conversation I was connected to the most amazing personal ever – Debbie! Little did I know that Debbie and I would talk every day (sometimes multiple times a day) until she found a way to have my problem fixed!

Let me be clear – I received a call from Debbie in the escalation department at AT&T EVERY business day for over a month (ie until my problem was solved).

I had a total of five AT&T employees come to my house. Some were techs, some were lines people. All were polite and all but one seemed very interested in solving my problem! (One tech, Eric, displayed the attitude I expected from AT&T when he told me on the phone BEFORE he came to my house ‘maybe you just need to switch to Time-Warner’).

In the end my problem was solved by dropping from 6meg service to 3meg service. I don’t know why going to a slower speed made it all better. It seems no one else knows either. However, I have decided:

This is a metaphor for my happiness!

photo via digitalZENDO (Jaye Seiho Morris)

I have found that I can add to the over all joy in life, finding peace of mind by slowing down. Doing more things I love by removing other things – Like television. By slowing down and spending more time enjoying what I am doing and not just getting it done. By deliberately scheduling my down time rather than waiting for it to happen.

What about you? Could your life; your pursuit of happiness be increased by slowing down?

Think about it.




(footnote: I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to the AT&T crew who solved my internet issues – Debbie [I don’t know a last name but know she is in North Florida and is amazing!]; Doug Brown, the Network Manager for the Wilmington Area; Clint Collins; Jeff, Ray and Ricky. I appreciate your professionalism, all the follow-up calls, and your dedication to customer service. Y’all give me hope for customer service everywhere.)


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What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas – but, what about everywhere else?

A couple of years ago the City of Las Vegas came up with an ad campaign that said something like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It’s a catchy slogan and something we all want to believe. We want to believe that we can go to a place where we can act or do whatever we please and no one in our real lives will be the wiser.

No too long ago I was out with a group of friends. As the evening was winding down we all were checking our phones, facebooking, tweeting etc – sans one fellow. He became enraged! Ranting on about how we were living in a false world and he preferred interaction with ‘real’ people and not friends we imagined that were in our phones.

Time and again the mistake is made when we think we live in an Anonymous world when we are in the virtual realm. We say things we would not ordinarily say. We do things we would not really do. All the while thinking we are in some magical land, like Vegas.

I can honestly say I have met some of the best people I know via the internet. One of my very best friends I met via twitter. There are people I interact with daily who I know via Facebook. You see the magic of these social interactions is not the virtualness, but the real nature of the relationships. To me it is the absolute best of the internet.

Conversely, because all too often we develop the what happens online stays online, we behave badly and forget that there can be real consequences. The person who reads what you type is just as real. What happens when your Vegas comes to the attention of your boss, or mother? Are you proud of what you’ve said? Are you willing to ‘own’ it?

This is a cautionary tale. I caution you to be wary of what you share. For the reason that nothing is lost once it is on the internet. In 1997, prior to my meeting Jenn, she was the subject of a front page story for the San Francisco Chronicle. Yesterday when I googled her name that article still comes up. I mention this to illustrate the length of time things can and do live on the internet.

What you say today may create issues not only today with the real people with which you interact but with future people who can access that information.

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Sharing is what it is ALL about

Part of the way I feed, clothe and have the ability to live indoors, is the use of social media. In case you are reading this and want to ask the question my mother asked last week ‘SOCIAL MEDIA, what’s that?’ The answer is social media is any avenue that acts socially using online technology. Because keeping up with the trends in social media and being well versed in using social media sights is my job, I’ve been spending time on Pinterest lately (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

What my time on Pinterest has taught me is, well, there are so many delectable foods in the world AND people love to share inspirational sayings. Some are cute. Some are insightful. Others are funny or witty. Which has me thinking, why do we love to share them so much?

After minutes of solicitous consideration, I believe I have the answer. We share the sayings for the same reason I write this blog….we want to inspire OURSELVES to be better. We believe that if we can live by the saying just for today we can improve our lives. Maybe we think we can magically hold on to the feeling we felt when we read that bit of inspiration. Maybe we want to share that feeling with others.

My post today is light hearted, but my message is serious. Get inspired! Find the thing that moves you and share! Share it with your spouse, your friends, and even the world!


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To Link or Not To Link

I like to talk with people. I love the exchange of ideas. I’m also keen on sharing knowledge. Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of local business owners about social media. The joy of talking with other small business owners is palpable for me.

At one point in our discussion last night one of the participants said ‘and don’t link your Facebook to your twitter or you’ll piss Gayle off’. I can’t deny that this is true; you will irritate me beyond belief. Nonetheless, I do not believe I am the ONLY one!

People link accounts because it is convenient. It is easy to think, I can post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, etc and all I have to do it type it once. After all convenience is the American Way. The part that is not being considered in this scenario is the convenience of the reader (your audience). Each of the social media platforms has their own special way of interacting. What works well on one doesn’t necessarily work well on another.

When you insist on posting for your convenience and not the convenience of your reader (target audience) you run the risk of alienating the people who enjoy one platform over another. For example here in town there is a company that was VERY engaging on Twitter when they first opened their business. They posted the daily special, and were incredibly engaging with customers. At some point in time they discovered the ability to link Facebook to their Twitter account.

Now every tweet looks like this:Even worse, they no longer notice when someone tweets to them and they lose any chance of interaction.

The inverse is also true. I have a friend who constantly sends twitter retweets through to her Facebook. Unfortunately, even a wonderful message like this one:seems strange in a world where RT (retweet) and # (hashtags) aren’t common.

And in case you don’t yet know it, Social Media is about being SOCIAL! So think twice before linking your social networks for YOUR convenience. If you learn the common practices of each network and tailor your message to fit that format you will find your message better received. Believe me your customer will notice.

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