Social Media: How to Alienate Friends and Make New Enemies
It’s easier than ever to alienate friends and make new enemies while, at the same time, disgusting the general population. Just employ the power of social media to share your political opinions with the world.
In the old days, you could eat a limburger and onion sandwich, but you still had to personally visit each friend or customer in order to belch in their presence, thereby revolting them and driving them away forever.
Now we have the 21st century equivalent of eating raw garlic: Facebook.
Facebook claimed some years ago that between its flagship site (for old people) and its Instagram subsidiary (for young people), users spend an average of 50 minutes each day viewing, commenting, posting, liking, and messaging. I’m sure that figure is higher today.
What a glorious opportunity to increase sales for your business … maybe. Despite years of urging from gurus all over the internet, successfully increasing sales with social media has been an uphill struggle, especially for purveyors of humdrum products and services. That would be all of us who aren’t Starbucks or Apple.
Keep Political Views to Yourself
I’m not here today to tell you what you are doing right or wrong when you promote your business on social media. I’m here to tell you what you probably already know deep down inside: those political posts that have nothing to do with your business are negating any marketing you are doing, and then some.
Stop. Stop, stop, stop! Stop posting your lunatic political opinions on social media.
What, you say? Your opinions are sane and rational, and it is the other guys who are nuts. Funny, the other guys just said the same about you.
Facebook presents unique opportunities for self-destruction. Those who agree with you will briefly grunt and nod, but you won’t see a particular benefit from it. If people like you personally or enjoy doing business with you, they already assume that you agree with them. Posting like-minded opinions generally won’t change their opinion.
Posts contrary to your acquaintances’ opinions, however, will have a strong effect. They will be shocked to learn that someone whom they liked and trusted could possibly be harboring such mistaken political beliefs. Shocked because, like you, they cannot reconcile contrary opinions with your charm, skill, style, and class. The fact that social media has very little class exacerbates the perception.
You aren’t presenting your case to them in a charming and classy manner. You are hitting them over the head with your opinions, and nobody likes to be hit over the head. At least when an enemy assaults you, it is expected. Being hit over the head by a friend smacks of betrayal.
Losing Face on Facebook
For maximum damage, repost a meme. Or just “like” one. Facebook will dutifully report your indiscretion to the world, or at least to all of your friends. These sarcastic snippets of graphic snark that populate the internet are probably much nastier, more cutting, and certainly less thoughtful than your own opinions. But by associating yourself with them, you are lowering yourself to their level.
Another way to insult the intelligence of your friends is to compare a politician you dislike to historic despots of the caliber of Hitler or Stalin. You’ll successfully warn your acquaintances about extremist opinions: yours! Such outlandish hyperbole virtually ensures that no one will pay attention to your ideas in the future. I know that “Johnson’s World” readers are smarter than this.
Don’t start in on me about your civic duty or your right to free speech. Want to make a difference in politics? Volunteer to work for a candidate of your choice. Go door-to-door handing out literature. Contribute your money to a campaign. Serve as an election judge or a precinct captain. Better yet, run for office yourself.
I have no problem with your involvement in politics. I do have a real problem with the sort of slacktivism that is Facebook and Twitter. No effort, no work, no thought, no results. That isn’t what our political system needs.
What’s that you say? You just can’t help angering your customers and endangering your livelihood? If you absolutely insist on taking the risk of annoying your clients, at least do it for a good reason — one that might possibly yield positive results. We’ll discuss that next month right here … in “Johnson’s World.”
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Copresco in Carol Stream, Ill., is an executive with 40 years of experience in the graphic arts. He founded Copresco, a pioneer in digital printing technology and on-demand printing, in 1987. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.copresco.com