Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Your perception on my Wall

In trying to answer a few questions from someone who strongly believes I’m an expert on these fronts, I realized how little we know about Social Media, despite been using it for so long now.

I’ll start with a challenge:
Go to the local library or bookstore and try to find a book about Social Media that focuses on individuals’ usage and interests. You will mainly find Marketing related books. Try harder and look for something specific to Social Networks sans the marketing component, it is even more difficult.

So, let’s focus on Social Networks and its many branches, uses, benefits and pain points. We’ll touch on the following:
+ Perception
+ Netiquette
+ Personal vs. Business
+ Contacts’ quantity and quality… are they really ‘friends’?
+ Quality and quantity of posts
+ You are what you post/publish
+ …and a few more.

Some of the listed items are intermingled and can’t be easily separated. Therefore let’s start with one of the easiest to understand: perception.

What you see is different from what I see. And not only because we have different backgrounds, education, origins, intelligence, age, culture, thinking, first-language, beliefs, environment, moods, etcetera. It is also because you might be using a specific computer to see your page, while I might be using a totally different computer in terms of display size, browser or App. One of our friends might be using a tablet or an eBook reader or a new Google-based phone; or I might be using a tiny Smartphone which only allows me to see one specific function or section of the full page you are seeing. Also, the type and number of friends I have is different from the ones you have, it is not very likely that some of your contacts are also mine. So, the daily number of posts and messages might be higher for you than it is for me, or vice versa. Also, some specific symbols, accents and emoticons are not posted or ‘converted’ the way you thought or intended; so many things we easily see or thought we typed are not there. Tildes, accents, diereses and some other symbols change sometimes; you might see them on your pages, but others simply see a totally different character.

Therefore, our own perception plays a huge role on the way we interact with each other. There are many factors that alter the way we see things on those streams, pages or walls.
The next time you are about to post something, think about what you want to convey. Easy does it, clarity helps, and target audience matters. Every element of that audience perceives you a little bit differently than everybody else.

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