You’ve heard of the 7 Deadly Sins…Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony…all sins that are sure to condemn you. But did you also know that there are 7 deadly sins of social media that will destroy your online credibility and relationships if you commit them?
So the next time you go on social media to post or to stalk – ask yourself if you are guilty of the following sins:
Wrath. Don’t be quick to wrath - anywhere, but especially on social media. It’s easy to fly off the handle and respond to someone else’s post, but don’t do it. Social media is one of the worst places to air your anger or vendettas. Keep in mind that the words you post will be there long after your temper subsides.
I once read a series of posts from a very angry person who was just mangling another person’s reputation in social media. Before you know it, the entire community got involved in the war. Eventually, feelings were hurt, people were unfriended and relationships were destroyed. The sad thing is, all these months later, every time I see this person’s post, I am once again reminded of the ugliness that they started. How sad!
This advice applies to email and text first. I can’t tell you how many emails and texts I’ve written and then waited until the morning to decide whether or not to send them. Needless to say, they never get sent!
Greed.You’ve heard the saying, “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”. On social media, they get unfriended, unfollowed and disconnected. So don’t hog all the bandwidth. How often is too often? It depends – on what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. In either case, more than once a day on each social medium is probably excessive – unless you’re updating the community on some major breaking news.
Sloth. You’ve seen it before. You click a link to someone’s blog and the last update was 1948. Your immediate thought is “this is a waste of my time”. Outdated blogs are not relevant and the author is not in touch (and maybe not even in business any longer). If you are going to create a blog or a feed, commit to making sure you post. Set aside time once a week to create content that is cohesive, interesting and intentional. Many tools (including the Post to Social Media feature in Occupancy Advantage) will let you post to multiple social media outlets with one click. No excuses!
Pride. If I read what restaurant (or resort or accomplishment…you get the point) “so and so” conquered one more time. You know who they are. They are the ones that you just skip over their posts, knowing that they are just braggadocios and useless to you. Eventually, pride will get you the boot! Even scripture says that “Pride goes before a fall.” Make sure your posts have some value to your readers (and not just a virtual pat on your own back). Interesting facts or stories are the most read posts.
Lust. The word lust was originally a general term for intense desire. Therefore lust could involve the intense desire of money, food, fame, or power as well. One person I know is constantly posting about what new gadget they want…it’s all about them. Remember, social media is not your private diary. Some desires are best left unsaid to the whole world.
Envy. Like greed and lust, envy (Latin, invidia) is characterized by an insatiable desire. Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone's traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is the envious also desire the entity and covet it. Don’t read other’s posts with envy or with the intent of stalking their activities, whereabouts or achievements. You don’t need to outdo someone else – be yourself, be genuine, be original. No one can be you, better than you.
Gluttony. Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. Gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one's own interests above the well-being or interests of others. Are you ignoring your business, family or real relationships in exchange for time spent on social media? Here’s a hint: if the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before bed is check social media, you may have a problem.
So what should you post?
The short answer is, post things that you want to read. News. Information. Tips. Stories. Recommendations. Words of encouragement or motivation. Relevant updates on your life/business. They’re all good starting places. Pictures (when appropriate) always help draw people in. Skip the “what I had for lunch” post, unless it’s at a restaurant that you want to recommend.
It’s tempting to get carried away on social media. The anonymity of social media gives you a false sense of insulation from your audience, but the consequences of your actions can be as devastating as the 7 Deadly Sins. Don’t succumb to the temptation. Put down your keyboard and walk away. It’s not worth it!
Social media is here to stay. It may change forms and labels, but it is unquestionably changing the way we communicate and stay informed. Like any tool, social media can be used for good or for bad. Use social media to encourage and educate. Serve others with quality content. Find ways to make social media your “friend”.