Social Media Means "Make it Work"

How many times in social media have you heard these phrases:

“10 Twitter rules you MUST follow…”

or “Myspace only works if you…”

or “NEVER do this on Facebook…”

When anyone starts issuing ‘rules’ or tossing around the word ‘only’ I start to worry. I’ve seen verbal fist fights online over how to navigate a social site! And, in my opinion, it’s ridiculous.

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If you’re a fan of Project Runway you’ll know Tim Gunn’s trademark “Make it work”. The idea is the designer needs to make his or her concept work in the dress no matter what apprehensions Tim has. Bring it all together and make it work. There’s no place on earth that this is more true than on Social Networks. Let’s explain what ‘make it work’ means for you.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk on Twitter about how people follow/unfollow other users. Now, I follow anyone who follows me. Unless you’re someone awesome like Wil Wheton, I only follow people who follow me. I use the service Qwitter to alert me when someone unfollows and I immediately unfollow them back.

Why? Because for me Twitter is about mutal conversation. I’m a dipper into the Twitter stream. I don’t read everything that everyone posts, but I do engage my list (@’s mostly) and join in discussions (#).

That’s how I make Twitter work for me. My friend @PodcastJunky does it slightly differently. She perfers someone to @ her when they add her – that way she only adds people who are her friends or are ‘real’ people.

Still another friend only adds people he 100% knows.

Whose right? We all are, because we made Twitter work for us. We are all different people, we have different priorties and we interact with people differently. Now, where the conflict comes is when my ‘make it work’ clashes with your ‘make it work’. But that should -never- cause the tpe of petty bickering I’ve seen online. If you’re one of those people who expect me to follow you just because you’re awesome, you’ll have to understand that’s not my ‘make it work’ – and if I think you’re awesome and you don’t follow me back, I have to understand that’s not how your ‘make it work’ works.

In the end social media is real life online. It’s about relationships, friendships, and all the other enjoyable thing that makes sharing our stories together enjoyable. If we over bicker or push rules and standards on people, we wind up focusing on all the things that drive us apart, instead of the things that bring us together.

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