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12 Lessons Learned as a Social Media Manager: There’s a Person on the Other Side

Last night, ABC attempted to give Jimmy Kimmel’s after Oscars special a boost with a quick appearance in casual clothing on the Academy Awards Red Carpet. In a gag that seemed to fall flat based on the Twitter response, Kimmel spoke with Red Carpet host Laura Spencer about the snark that creeps onto Twitter during major viewing events like last night’s awards. Kimmel crawled through a television screen into the living room of an overweight couple who had been tweeting their disgust with celebrity outfits to ridicule them for their mismatched clothing, poor manicures and eating habits.

While the bit went poorly and was viewed as a “slam on middle America” according to Variety, the sentiment behind the unfunny joke of entering a “casual tweeters'” living room and snarkily responding to their outfit and eating habits – and the response from those casual tweeters – rings true.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love watching television with a million of my best friends that I’ve never met. Twitter is an amazing invention and it’s too much fun to watch any awards show or sporting event while simultaneously sharing my opinion and reading other peoples. In fact, when Twitter broke because Ellen Degeneres asked everyone to make her epic selfie with A-Listers the most retweeted picture ever I felt lost and confused because I was suddenly watching the Oscars alone in my apartment instead of with the robust community of people I follow on Twitter (but hey, admitting I have a problem is the first step, right?).

But my Twitter personality has changed over the past year. When social media was just a portion of my job, I was as snarky as everyone on Twitter – Yeew, you’re wearing that, celebrity?, Ugh, this team sucks!, Man, I hate this performance, you’re horrible. – but something quickly changed when I sat down behind the scenes at a major brand. I realized that there’s always someone on the other side of those tweets.

One of my biggest issues when there are high stress situations at work is distancing myself from the account that I run. There is so much hatred, negativity and disgust spewed on Twitter and when that is directed at your account and you’re getting push notifications on your cell phone it’s sometimes hard to remember people don’t mean that you specifically are a horrible, evil, godless human being. I have to step back and remember they’re saying that about my brand – because people have a lot of opinions and feelings – but not about me. I can’t imagine what type of hatred is spewed at an individual who does not have the same ability to distance themselves as I do.

I understand that social media is an outlet for many to express frustrations. It’s often the only way a person can feel like they’re being heard by someone – anyone – and it’s an incredibly easy way to make your opinions known. I don’t anticipate this to change any time soon, especially as many believe that if a person puts themselves into the public eye they need to take the bad as well as the good.

I know that I always think before I tweet these days. I don’t want to add to the stress and defeat that a social media manager may face in their position so I attempt to seek resolutions to my customer service issues instead of yelling into the vacuum of social media. I remember that there’s a person on the other side of my snarky tweets about how an athlete has performed and they’re probably feeling a loss much more than I am. I attempt to send positivity out into the Twitter world during events like last night’s Academy Awards by saying what dresses and suits I did love instead of piling onto the conversation about the dresses that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Because in the grand scheme of things, who am I? If a person I don’t know at all disappoints me or dresses differently than me why does that give me license to ridicule them from a relatively anonymous platform?

Thinking before I tweet doesn’t mean that I can’t participate in conversations or have fun on Twitter, it just means that I, even though I only have 600 followers and am probably not even on the radar of the celebrities I occasionally tweet, censor myself a bit on the platform and make sure that if I am critiquing something it’s informed and supported by facts instead of a knee-jerk reaction to something different or that isn’t the way I would do or wear something.

About this series:

January 7 marked the one year anniversary of my jump from general public relations practitioner to social media manager. While I’ve thought about blogging quite a bit in the past year, I made a conscious decision to sit back and dedicate myself to learning as much as I could about my job and my function in the digital market rather than jumping into the fray, no matter how many times I wanted to. Instead, I’m now going to present the top 12 things that I’ve learned about my role, my field of expertise and myself in the past 12 months. This is number 3 of the top 12 things I’ve learned.

Post By Liz Harter (70 Posts)

Liz Harter has a degree in English Writing with a minor in Spanish from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She is an award winning journalist on the collegiate level with a strong background in journalism. She currently works in PR and is a social media autodidact Google+

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About the Author

Liz Harter has a degree in English Writing with a minor in Spanish from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She is an award winning journalist on the collegiate level with a strong background in journalism. She currently works in PR and is a social media autodidact Google+

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