Category Archives: Miss Social

Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

The professional value I derive from LinkedIn is diminishing as it starts to look and feel more like a second Facebook. Is that just me, or has something happened over there?

Maxine Jeffery
Flummoxed networker,
Melbourne, Australia

 

Dear Gentle Reader

On occasion Little Miss Social delights in a robust metaphor, and this one of them. Whenever I hear mention of LinkedIn I cannot but help think of the plight of Rome in the first century AD. For alas Gentle Reader, I fear the sack and decline of LinkedIn is upon us.

As uncouth as the Gauls, Visigoths and Vandals may have been, they are nothing on the modern-day Barbarians who wield their destructive power from inside of LinkedIn’s own city walls! What possible defence pray-tell do we have against fellow-denizens bent on recycling inspirational quotes from Richard Branson and Steve Jobs? Or the publishing of endless streams of math problems and the first-word-you-see letter plays? Or the spamming of one’s own group members with unsolicited in-mail? Or the pitching of dubious or odious business propositions from one’s newly acquired connections? If I may be permitted to paraphrase Augustus, we may have found LinkedIn built of marble, but we leave her today clothed in bricks.

Little Miss Social’s advice for the continued use of LinkedIn is simple: build and maintain your own house and let the city populous at large endure the Barbarian rampages. Grant access only to your chosen and build a safe-haven around them. Be vigilant of peddlers, serial sharers and the Bransonites. Do not be afraid to cast out transgressors – use the ‘unfollow’ option at the first signs of trouble or ‘disconnect’ the connection altogether. Do not engage with low-quality posts – that is how the Barbarian makes his presence felt. Do not post inspirational quotes – they depress our collective sensibilities (and it is how we know you have too much time on your hands or are just manifestly unhappy in your current job role).

But do play your part – be useful and ever-considerate of what you are directly and indirectly posting onto the newsfeeds of others. I will do the same and we will both once again enjoy Rome as it was when Caesar was a boy.

 



Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

I confess to being genuinely at a loss when it comes to social media engagement in the form of liking other people’s posts. Should I be liking anything and everything from everybody, or just the ones I actually like from the people I know?

Yours Sincerely,
Sally Blackmoore
Perth, Australia

 

Dear Gentle Reader

Whether to publicly like another’s social media post – or not – is a vexing issue, and one which is fraught with misguided intent and endless misinterpretation. The modern ‘like’ is a spring-trap which lays in wait for the uninitiated and where the consequences of a misstep can be socially fatal. But adherence to a few simple and commonsense rules will see you through.

Whenever you like a post from someone within your inner-circle you are ipso facto liking the person who posted it. This is its most popular use and serves the purpose of social bonding between one’s peers. But if you are liking the post of someone from an outer-circle or that of a complete stranger, you are most certainly indicating approval of the post itself – and not the person who published it. In either case, by liking a post you are signalling that you have at least seen the post. It is the digital equivalent of making eye-contact across the madding crowd and tipping one’s hat. In some instances this may be the precursor to a blossoming online relationship.

On occasion you might be inclined to like a post because you genuinely do like it. This should be made manifestly clear with the inclusion of a supporting comment or contextually relevant emoji. Care must be taken however when liking the post of a person who is expressing heightened spiritual, cerebral or physical agitation – for example, a picture of their freshly stubbed toe. To like this without a supporting comment or empathetic emodji  would be considered very poor taste indeed.

Liking a shared post performs a dual action. You are both liking the person who shared the post, and liking the post of the person who originally published it. All parties generally understand this to be the case.

On receiving a like one should never overtly acknowledge it with another like or comment – it is unnecessary and often leads to awkwardness.

Liking the last several posts at once from someone should be avoided if possible, as the value of a like diminishes in direct proportion to the elapsed time since it was published. Conversely, liking a post within 5 minutes of its publication is a mark of social excellence which is generally reserved for one’s inner, inner-circle connections – your besties.

It is both unacceptable and churlish to ever unlike a post. The exception to this rule is if the like is withdrawn within 30 seconds of granting it, providing leeway for an inadvertent like which happens to us all on occasion.

From time to time we are obliged to discharge a debt or balance the social ledger when a person has liked your last several posts with scrupulous consistency and rapidity. But care must be taken here, as a perceived haste to repay one’s obligation is a kind of ingratitude of itself. Yes, such debts must be paid with reciprocated likes, but in instalments.

So as you can see Gentle Reader, a like is not always a like – although of course sometimes it is.

 



Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

I’m curious about social media, but I don’t really want to put myself ‘out there’. The very idea unnerves me – I think I would rather just stay within the shadows of anonymity. But I have varied personal interests and would genuinely like connect and share with like-minded others. Am I destined to remain the social wallflower or is there an acceptable half-way point I could adopt?

Judy Manningham
‘Uncertain Social Wallflower’
Adelaide, Australia

Dear Gentle Reader

Half-way points? Never, they are ghastly places and should be avoided at all costs! The real question here is one of personal visibility. Little Miss Social herself remembers a not-so-long-ago time when the everyman or women was destined to a social existence of accidental proximity and limited influence. But thankfully it is a thing of the past. As a postscript to Mr. Dylan: the times, Gentle Reader, they have changed.

Social media is an intoxicating assemblage of new technologies. They are enablers of extended and threaded conversations – one may listen, and on occasion hold court. They have formed a tapestry of weak and strong social bonds amongst former strangers, and of course they are an endless source of amusements. But most importantly they are a kaleidoscope of blank canvases upon which to paint, share and propagate connexion. What an opportunity to play the twin roles of conversationalist and artist! You must express yourself, Gentle Reader, out in the creative commons where we can discover you. Publish, opine, engage and claim ownership with manifest confidence. Our new millennium offers much which is easier, but personal online visibility and reputation is now fully our own undertaking. You must to grasp the social media nettle if you want to move from being a person to a person of community interest. 

The timid of heart and weak of mind enjoy short shrift in today’s attention economy. Cast aside whatever notions of 20th century modesty you might have and start throwing stones into your chosen ponds. The intersection of ripples – yours and others – is where it gets interesting indeed!



Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

I own a small, established vintage clothing boutique in Melbourne and have heard that social media might be helpful for my business. I also have a young niece who is studying an Arts degree and is keen to take over the full control of my social media responsibilities in her spare time. She’s smart and spends most of the day on Facebook already, so I think it might be a good fit. What are your thoughts?

Yours Sincerely,
Jessica Francis
Melbourne, Victoria

Dear Gentle Reader

Let a person under the age of 30 loose on your social media? What a frightful thought! Little Miss Social would never countenance it. As dear Mr. Wilde once quipped, “I am not young enough to know everything.”

No, no, no, the social media for your business is too important a responsibility to be handled by anybody but yourself. What’s demanded is a seasoned and steady hand at the tiller. It’s still business as usual you know.

It’s easy to forget the ‘social’ in ‘social media’. This is a milieu which operates on human behavioural insight, drawn-out courtships, intelligence, wit and a healthy appreciation of the double-entendre.

It is you who must drive this initiative. How ever would your niece – as charming a girl as I’m sure she is – manage the process of discoursing with customers? What missives would she post? Little Miss Social sees too much flotsam in the streams already. How ever would she respond to a line of question or possess the mental dexterity to intercept and blunt the arrow of a customer complaint?

Conversation Gentle Reader – social media is the art of conversation. Does she write with aplomb? Could she be relied upon to furnish the appropriate rejoinder in a social media conversation thread? I think not. How could she?

Or at the very least does she possess a deep working knowledge of your wares, your vintage beauties? Would she be able to discuss upon them with confidence and authority, or would she merely peddle them with the brashness of a camel trader at a market bizarre?

No, Gentle Reader – we want you. It must be you. Pray, who else?

Yours in Social,
Little Miss Social



Dear Little Miss Social…

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Dear Little Miss Social

I subscribe to well over a dozen newsletters – I love the ease at which businesses are able to freely correspond with me via my inbox. But I am a subscriber to one fortnightly missive which I find unsettling, and I am desperate for your advice. The newsletter I refer to often arrives with a provocative subject line and opens with a ‘racy’ image of some sort – recent examples include a woman wearing fishnet stockings, a frozen fish in a bowl, and on one occasion, a cat wearing sunglasses. There is often little content related to actual products or services, instead there are curious little stories – most of which I suspect have just been made up to make some obtuse point.

Surely this is no way to market a business. I don’t want to unsubscribe because I want to see what’s coming next, but can I – should I – make a formal complaint to someone? Is there a government department that has oversee for the maintenance of standards in this area?

Gladis Mulberny
Perplexed Newsletter Subscriber,
Sydney, Australia

 

Dear Gentle Reader

Little Miss Social demands propriety in all manner of social discourse, including within the electronic formats of blogs, newsletters and social media. But adherence to propriety is hardly as excuse to become a slave to beige. Or as they say in Russia, “The man who lives on borsch believes all food is purple.”

If a newsletter you have subscribed to has caused alarm or offence it has served a purpose beyond its original intent – it is an indication that it is time for you, Gentle Reader, to UNSUBSCRIBE. Confident electronic newsletters do not pander to the lowest common denominators of sensibility as mainstream media do. The rise of narrowcasting has made organisational communications much more fun for everybody – people who like a particular sort of thing tend to stay tuned to that sort of thing. And those who don’t, won’t. Self-managing filters such as the unsubscribe button are a boon for everybody – readers and publishers. A newsletter worth opening should serve to inform, educate or entertain in ways that must marginalise the few in order to delight the rest.

Little Miss Social can recommend some wonderfully bland newsletters to subscribe to if you are looking to make up your numbers.

Yours in Social,
Little Miss Social

Postscript. Little Miss Social is curious to read the newsletter you were referring to – it sounds just like her cup of tea. Please send the subscription details at your earliest convenience.



Dear Miss Social…

write1

Dear Miss Social

I’ve been doing social media for almost three years. A close friend suggested I try it out after the sudden death of our family cat, Dugs. I was only looking for a short-term distraction but have since adopted social media as part of my weekly routine and enjoy it very much. But here’s my issue: some of the people that I am following on Twitter are not following me back. I consider myself to be an outgoing person with a pleasant disposition, and can see no reason for these slights. In one instance I know the offender personally, which is doubly hurtful… should I say something to her? I would hardly know where to start.

Yours Sincerely,
Upset Tweeter
Hobart, Australia

 

Dear Gentle Reader

Miss Social must correct you on a point: one does not “do” social media, one engages in it. Social intercourse of any nature is a participatory activity between two or more consenting parties. Miss Social does not approve of broadcasting into a vacuum.

Your current predicament with Twitter is understandable, but eminently avoidable. Miss Social is reminded of dogs who harbour simple notions of social reciprocity such as ‘you can smell my bottom, and I get to smell yours’ (usually a simultaneous exchange when the breeds are of a similar size). Such a compact, so to speak, does not exist within social media. Twitter is a network – it scarcely matters who is following whom, as long as all participants are able to derive value from the collective. If we all do our very best and concentrate on making Twitter an interesting place to be, the connecting threads of value will form quite naturally. “It all evens out in the wash” as Miss Social’s dear Granny Mayfield was very fond of saying.

As to your non-following acquaintance, Miss social recommends this course: lift your credibility in her eyes by adding her to a public Twitter list called ‘Interesting and Beautiful Individuals’ – few people could stop themselves from taking an enquiring sniff or two of something as intriguing as that.

Yours in Social,
Miss Social