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Social Media: Embrace the Horror

July 18, 2009

I took my 4-year-old roller skating. It was his first time — and my first time in more than 30 years. I gripped his hand and we inched along the wall as more competent skaters whizzed by. Whenever one or both of us let go of the wall, one or both of us lost balance and went down.

Experience is the best teacher.  “When you fall, you just gotta get back up and keep going!” I advised him.

That’s good advice where social media is concerned, too.

Exhibit A

On Facebook recently, somebody “tagged” a photo of me feeding an old boyfriend ice cream. The picture dated to the early 1980s, and in it I wore a bathing suit. The photo wasn’t all that bad, considering. Still. It concerned me enough to lock down my site. Now, if you tag me in a photo, only I see it unless I decide it’s fit to share.

Exhibit B

I was fortunate to be the bearer of good news about my company’s 2008 financial performance. In the worst economy most can remember, we not only didn’t lay off anybody, we grew. I joined a few employees posting tid-bits about our good results via Twitter and Facebook.

All was well till I noticed a snarky comment under one of my Facebook status updates. I deleted it and considered “unfriending” the offending “friend.” Unbelievably, the “friend” then posted another irritating quip.

Further unpleasantness was averted when I had a quick phone conversation that ended with both of us apologizing for overreacting.  “Unfriending” was unnecessary.

A PR consultant once summed up social media involvement this way: “It’s here. It ain’t going anywhere. You may as well adapt. Embrace the horror.”

He was right. Get up. Keep going.

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