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Social Media Narcissist or Uninformed Tweep?
Posted on June 19th 2013
Nobody “Likes” me. I want to be the “favorite.” Why won’t anyone “share” with me? I want to be the leader but no one will “follow.”
These are the daily social media struggles of individuals and companies alike. These poor tweeps just have an opinion and want to be heard and valued – why is it so dang hard? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because it’s all about them!
Are You “Liking” Yourself Too Much?
According to a recent article in the Huffington Post titled “What Social Media Reveals About Narcissism,” a small new study shows how exactly we use social media to feed our egos. The research, published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, shows that Twitter fuels younger adults’ narcissistic tendencies by acting as a megaphone for their thoughts, while Facebook fuels middle aged adults’ narcissistic tendencies by serving as a mirror where they can curate images of themselves.
Or Are You Just in Need of Better Social Media Socialization?
While I’m not a Ph.D. and am certainly not questioning the validity of this study, I do believe many people and companies come across as self-centered on social media and lack engagement and success because they don’t understand how it works, or they have lost sight of its intent.
For example, I recently consulted with a company that was frustrated by the lack of comments and “likes” on its many LinkedIn group posts. Its marketing coordinator told tales of social media woe. “I feel like I’m shouting from the rooftops and no one is listening.” I probed a little further into the situation and asked her questions, such as:
- Have you “listened” first to various conversations in the groups?
- Do you monitor the posts of the “top influencers” to understand why they get traction?
- Are your posts directly relevant to the audience of particular groups?
- Is your intent to share authentically helpful information or gain insight about a particular topic?
Her answers to all of these questions were “no.” While I don’t know this woman well, my first impression was not to brand her a social media narcissist. She’s just uniformed and needs a little social media socialization. She hasn’t had any formal training in social media or read many of the fabulous books that I have, like “Born to Blog,” “Content Rules,” “The Tao of Twitter.” She also doesn’t “listen” to thought leaders on Twitter, such as @markschaefer, @howellmarketing, @pammktgnut, @jaybaer and @jeffbullas. How is she to know that social media is not about pushing content one-way for personal or professional gain?
Listen First, Tweet Later
In a recent blog post on sociallybuzzing.com titled The Nature of Two Way Communications in a Social Media Presence, “social media is not only a communications tool, but it is also an important listening tool. Remember, social media is a definite two way street and sometimes what you receive in return is even more important that what you put out there.”
During a pre-conference workshop at Social Slam 2013, Mark Schaefer shared that the measure of social media success shouldn’t simply be the number of “likes” you get but maybe the number of “likes” and comments you give. Sometimes, you have to give before you get!
Social media is not much different than forming in-person relationships. Not many of us enjoy being talked at or yammering on about ourselves endlessly. Most of us strive for engaging conversations where there is a genuine interest between two people to learn more about each other.
I’m sure there are some true social media narcissists out there, but my guess is that most tweeps just need some education and to listen a little better!