We all know the expression, “Fifteen minutes fame!” The possibility of becoming a national celebrity has never been greater than it is today, thanks to the internet, reality TV shows, and social media. To be a national celebrity twenty-five year ago, you had to be a toddler who fell into an abandoned well. But these days, all it takes to become a national celebrity is a well-placed tweet, misquoted Facebook post, or exposure via a viral video.
After Osama bin Laden’s death fingers flew as tweets and posts were created within a matter of seconds. One tweet attributed Martin Luther King Jr.’s stand against the wish of our enemy’s death to Martin Luther King Jr. Supersonic research revealed that the quote was either a fraud or an error. The source and motivation for the quote became a mystery, and the truth is still unknown. The psychology of social media posts was brought up as a fascinating topic.
What’s it about a tweet or a Facebook post that makes people wonder what the truth is? It’s an important topic to think about when dealing with social media. The two types of social media channels, personal and business, can help us see the bigger picture and remind us to create guidelines for creating social media plans that are business-friendly.
Personal social media posts can have a different psychology than the people who type them. It is also not easy to interpret as many people might not share their true feelings, emotions or personalities through their social accounts. Recent college-aged women surveyed found that many daily posts were related to real social events and hooking up with a partner. The women said they posted pictures of themselves or places they were going to, as well as information about the fun they had. If they knew a guy interested in them, they would see the post on their news feed. Twitter works better when it is connected to Facebook. The constant stream of tweets can be annoying and unavoidable, but is often more effective.
This college demographic sees social media as social. Many photos and posts are scattered all over the internet, without any concern for the future. Even though professors might warn that you may be toast in the future, there are courses where they can help. Recently, one college student commented that she should start saving money and pay Google to remove her existence from the beginning of her career search. Problem is that once a comment or picture becomes public, it can be copied and saved. Even though the Halloween costume that cross-dressed may have been a hit with the keggers, it won’t be a strong political statement in an election. There is no longer the phrase “I didn’t inhale”; there may be a You Tube video to prove it.
Another problem with social media is the same one we see in email messaging: the spreading of false stories, viruses and malware with the intention of causing damage and destruction. Why would someone create a terrible tale about cancer or death in order to get people to open the file and see their hard drives being attacked? Perhaps the victims are not seen so that there is less sympathy, or none at all. Is it the feeling of being able to control the energy and time of millions? Are they just looking to get their 15 minutes of fame in anonymity, knowing that halting government systems won’t likely result in a law enforcement officer knocking at their door? Whatever their motivation, these malcontents know the pain they have inflicted and can measure it.
The vast majority of people who use social media for fun and enjoyment aren’t doing so for malicious intent. As someone who has seen hundreds of posts, tweets and stumbles on Facebook, I see one common theme among most users: to connect with friends, make a difference in lives, share a bit of their lives, and promote their beliefs and causes. Making connections is all about making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, family members, and staying in touch with them across distances. It is important to satisfy that neighbor who wants to see what others are doing.
There are many types of “friends” after active users. These include those who don’t care what their friends post, and never like or acknowledge the existence of others, but instead promote their own agenda. The silent friends are those who only watch and listen to what everyone else is doing. They keep their comments private between friends and family and keep any posts secret. The most curious participant in social media is the friend that never posts and whose wall has been closed. They rarely log in to Facebook and don’t know what Facebook is doing constantly. They have a limited knowledge of Twitter, but they don’t want any of it. These are people who, at a weak moment, gave in to peer pressure and set up a Facebook account. They have probably lost the password to delete it.
Users’ personal drive seems to be, for the most part a validation of their existence. It is to feel that life is happening and moving, even though boredom may have set in. To feel part in a world that is always changing and growing. To believe that your beliefs, words and desires make a difference to others. You can have a little bit of narcissism, and get a small amount of attention on a larger scale than social media. It can give you an ego boost as well as a healthy expansion of the world that allows for knowledge and conversation. One misquote can put you in the middle of a social media feeding frenzy. Be careful when you repost or fire off hateful or pointed posts. The beauty of social media is that the possibility of being the subject of scandal is very rare. However, we can still enjoy the fame and fifteen minutes of fame. Unless you’re a business or corporation, the rules of the game change.
It is important to understand how social media affects business participation. As the voice of the company, the personality of the user is irrelevant. It is important to suppress the prejudices, thoughts, and beliefs of those who are responsible for tweets and posts. Words must be politically correct, just as if they were on the front page of the local newspaper. Public profiles should conform to company policies and standards. They must also follow a plan or formula to promote and encourage business without offending. This is to help achieve the social media purpose, which should be income generation and business. Customers, followers, and fans become the target. To create a successful marketing strategy and plan, it is important to consider the psychology of readers. One wrong quote, one offensive post, or one sloppy tweet can all have a devastating effect on your bottom line. When creating the online personality for a company, caution and care should be taken. It is important to take the fate of this important representation seriously and not leave it in the hands of the cashier at front desk just because she has a Facebook page.