How NOT to use social networks
Having spent some time looking after T3’s Facebook page, our man has some tips for anyone running or using social media…
Truth by Duncan Bell
So… What is up with social networks, online message boards and anywhere else people may electronically leave what they like to loosely describe as their “thoughts”? And why aren’t these people doing something more useful with their time, like endlessly turning over a piece of paper with “PLEASE TURN OVER” written on both sides? Or wanking into a sock?
Those were the thoughts I had recently while acting as a sort-of “admin” for the Facebook page of this very mag.
However, after lengthier deliberation, I realised that the issues our page had were not solely the fault of drunk and lonely masturbators with dyslexia and sociopathy.
I confess: we had neglected the page. We had left our social garden untended. We were just casually tossing news through the back window into its overgrown fronds, failing to notice it had become an ugly place, where homeless people had taken to “doing their business” amidst the hogweed and brambles.
So from this I gleaned some important rules to follow if you’re running a social network. The Ten Commandments, if you like. Or, for reasons of space and my waffly writing style, The Four Commandments.
First up, thou shalt very strictly ban swearing, and delete comments that “bring the foulness”. If you walk into a pub where the air is being turned blue with verbal filth, you walk straight out, right? Websites are the same. But yea verily, I make one exception, which is that if the swearing is funny, it is okay. Louis CK, yes. Bus-stop loony, no.
Number two: to engage thy audience and leverage thine “reach” in a very real sense, do NOT conclude posts with yes/no questions. I swear I once saw a thread that did so and the only three replies underneath were literally, “Yes”, “No” and “Maybe”.
Numero, er, three: thou shalt talk to thy readers. But thou shoudst not pander to them (okay, I’m going to stop using this cod-Biblical language now). Engage with funny or thoughtful posts, most certainly. But also gird your loins to point out flaws in the reasoning of ones that have been left by people that are wrong. Because, you see, even the most seemingly mental posters often suddenly become far more reasonable if you respond – the sheer shock of being replied to cheers them up no end, I think.
And finally, the two cast-iron, deadcert ways to get a good “debate” going. One, put up a photo of Tony Abbott. Two, quote anything that compares iOS and Android. Just stand ready to carry out Commandment One as soon as you hit “post” in that case.
And that, readers, brings me to The One Commandment of posting on other people’s Facebook pages, message boards, etc: don’t be a dick. But more on that another time…