“How to Not Suck at Social Media” Notes

Twitter: @rebecca_suss

“How To Not Suck At Social Media”

  • In “How To Not Suck,” Malcom McCutcheon gives basic tips to business owners on how to get started successfully on social media
  • He emphasizes the importance of establishing “friendly” relationships with one’s online connections, as opposed to treating them as customers
  • He writes, “You’re going to treat them like friends.  That’s how you win.”  By this he means that you should get to know those who “follow” you or “like” your page.  Establishing some sort of an online friendship could translate to a real life connection that can help your business in the long run
  • These relationships can be further explained through Caroline Haythornthwaite’s  concept of weak and strong ties. Customers who simply “like” your page can be considered a weak tie.  These ties become meaningful, as McCutcheon describes, when users communicate on multiple platforms, and the relationships become significant outside of social media sites.  McCutcheon should have explored the importance of ties maintained across multiple platforms, although he does briefly mention this when he explains one’s “tribe”
  •  Business owners should take the initiative to build stronger connections to their  “tribe” which in turn acts as a measurement of how successful they are on social media.  A tribe basically consists of “loyal friends” or “people that think you don’t suck.”  McCutcheon simplifies the construction process of this tribe, which is harder to maintain than he makes it seem
  • He writes, “Take a genuine interest in the people that choose to follow you.”  I agree with McCutcheon’s point here.  Too often, as we see with celebrity accounts, most ties are unidirectional.  When businesses interact with their customers online in a friendly manner, there is more of a chance that customers will remain loyal
  • McCutcheon states that networking online is much easier than networking in person. This idea can be true, as users feel more comfortable expressing themselves when they can’t physically see their audience.  Don Slater in “Social Relationships and Identity Online and Offline,” looks at this phenomenon as he writes about disembodiment.  SNSs allow us to be physically separate from our real world selves, which may make striking up a conversation easier.
  • This networking, however, is also inauthentic. As Slater discusses in “Social Relationships and Identity Online and offline,” users’ construction of their identity on social media may differ greatly from their offline selves.  This means that their online interactions are also most likely inauthentic.
  • McCutcheon goes on to say, “small-talk seems more genuine and interesting on Facebook,” which again is not likely to be true.  Online interactions are usually never “genuine.”
  • His point about intentionally separating you, the person, from you, the blogger, is further complicated by Marwick and Boyd, in “To see and be seen: Celebrity practice on Twitter.”  They explain how “Celebrity practitioners reveal what appears to be personal information to create a sense of intimacy between participant and follower” in order to create a stronger tie.  In this case, it might be beneficial to let these two personas merge.
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