The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

No More Flu Selfies, Please!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

I am an active on social media platforms, particularly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As a result, I have noticed the strategies that work and those that don’t across these platforms. Here’s what I have learned.

It’s personal. There seems to be no limit on sharing personal information on social media platforms. (God help me if I see another “sick selfie” today! Why do I want to see you in your pajamas in bed when you have the flu? I digress.) I think one of the main reasons social media has exploded over the last decade is the need for human connection. People want to feel connected to others, like they are a part of a community.  What better way to do this then through social media? Social media enables people to share experiences, milestones, relationships, passions, vacations, political views, religious beliefs, etc. If you examine the accounts of some of the most widely followed influencers and/or celebrities, these people share what makes them tick, who their friends are, what they are doing, etc. Their feeds are not just about business. Just look at the top 20 most followed Twitter accounts. These influencers range from politicians to musicians, but what all their accounts have in common is strong opinions, personal life details and frequency of posts.

Do not engage with the trolls.  We all have had interactions with bullies in our lives. Unfortunately, social media is the perfect haven for bullies.  They can hide behind a masked identity and bully others. Working in television, I have seen bullies harass on-air personalities frequently. These bullies pick on what these people wear, their new haircuts, and even fat shame pregnant women. Whenever I have seen people try to engage with bullies, it is always a downward spiral.  I have a saying that I keep in my head, “don’t engage with crazy.” It’s a pretty simple but good motto to live by! It never makes the situation better to engage in an argument with bullies.  Don’t stoop to their level. Get some thick skin and move on.

Do use humor.

Some of the largest followed social media accounts contain the funniest content. Think about which articles tend to go viral and that you see shared repeatedly on Facebook-it’s usually something funny. Take this airport bit from the incredibly talented comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco. It’s been viewed over 4,247,100 times on UTube and shared 8 million times on Facebook. My favorite part is when he talks about the horrific process of weighing your luggage and having to remove 1 lb. of cargo. He then goes on to talk about the guy behind him being 500 lbs., and that the airline doesn’t object to that but is more worried about his shoe making the plane one lb. heavier.  The gist of the skit is that he is led to believe that his sock is going to take the plane into the Pacific, not the 500 man behind him. Priceless…enjoy!

Don’t be boring. Content that contains useful information that helps people solve problems, provides awareness or news about a current situation tends to have high engagement. An analysis of award-winning social media campaigns “suggested that the dimension of transparency most commonly used in these campaigns was providing information that is useful for others to make informed decision” (DiStaso, M. & Sevick Bortree, D., 2012).

Don’t be insensitive. While we all appreciate a joke, be careful what you joke about. Fashion mogul Kenneth Cole learned this the hard way when he decided to use the #Cairo hashtag, which was trending due to the recent revolution in Egypt, to promote his new spring collection.

In conclusion, social media can be fun or your downfall. So, have a little fun and and use common sense.


Bassin, K. (2012). 13 Epic Twitter fails by big brands. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/13-epic-twitter-fails-by-big-brands-2012-2

CBS News. The most followed Twitter accounts on earth. https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/the-biggest-twitter-accounts-on-earth/16/

DiStaso, M. & Sevick Bortree, D. (2012) Multi-method analysis of transparency in social media practices: Survey, interviews and content analysis. Public Relations Review. 38 (2012) 511–514

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