Ok, probably not, but can we at least recognize it for the crap it is?
Since I am apparently too busy to call those closest to me anymore, my friends follow me on Facebook, but for once I was actually speaking on the phone to a good friend. She told me something which is a secret, apparently, only to me. My life, she told me, is PERFECT.
(The Tech-Tav staff on our company yacht! NOT!!)
Talk about distorted reality!
Let’s cut the crap and admit...that ISN’T true in the least. Not for me, not for you, not for Justin Timberlake and not for Kim Kardashian or whomever else you follow on Twitter, FB or any other form of social media either. (I don’t follow either of those people, but apparently, they are considered deities in some cultures.)
Now, this friend of mine isn’t 20 with a flaky head on her shoulders. She is pushing 50, has raised more than a handful of kids and already has more than a handful of grandchildren with advanced degrees. These are experienced and worldly folks.
So how can it be that she believes my Facebook posts reflect the entirety of my life? Or that Social Media is a truthful indicator of the real story in any situation?
(No, my life isn't all rainbows and unicorns....is yours??)
As we approach 2014, we can all agree that a picture may be worth 1000 words, but some of them are “photoshopped”, “perspective” and “biased angle”. Every self respecting woman can tell you their best angle. Selfies help you take off at least 10 pounds since you are shooting from above, and holding the camera vertical can erase another 5. When am behind the camera, my house can look immaculate, modern and incredibly put together. The other ¾ of the room behind me is the truth, but don’t worry, I won’t show you the horrors of my mid-week living room. I mean, heck, I can’t and never will… as my mom is following me on FB and she would be horrified and potentially disown me. (She also reads my blogs....so be honest mom...you would disown me right? )
Isn’t that what FB and social media is really all about? Showing off your best side to your customers, friends, business associates and the random followers you pick up along the way? Sprinkling in a few carefully selected flaws so you seem human, but never really letting anyone see your real bad side?
(Need I say more? Don't believe what you see!)
Did I lose public favor when I posted frantically last week that my kid ripped her upper lip frenulum and I didn’t know what to do? I publically admitted to being helpless mom #1, and was lambasted by private message no fewer than 8 times for not knowing the medically correct response.
So maybe only now I get it. Unless you are posting perfect pictures, perfect status messages, perfect vacations and perfect updates about your perfect business and perfect decisions and hilarious human and animal interactions, keep it to yourself?
Apparently you'll ruin your business/relationship/friendships and even, shhhhhhhh....future marriage prospects of your children if you post anything real.
Hello, world! Social Media is not real. I mean, it is real BS, but that is about it...
It is takes me blogging about it to get real, then so be it.
I'll announce it here so there is no confusion.
My life isn’t perfect, my business isn't perfect. I am not the perfect manager, wife, mother, boss, friend, photographer, business partner or anything else. I suck at most of it at least 50% of the time. I do try really hard and I genuinely want to help people, but when and if I succeed, it isn’t because I am Wonder Woman, it is because I worked hard, failed and failed, until I succeeded, and then only shared the success on my timeline.
(I mean, what if I posted “Just made an unsuccessful sales call to a jerk who hung up on me.”? Do you really want to know that?)
The picture I and anyone else paints of themselves and their life on social media, is largely just that. A painted picture. No different than the slick printed ads of days gone by.
(My favorite painting....but please remember, it isn't real! )
Which leads me to why I felt it was relevant to post this on a technical writing management blog.
Recently, I have become disgusted with the sales and marketing tactics being employed by tech writing/knowledge management/content tool vendors. Not all of them, of course. I’m not going to single any out, either, but again, let’s cut the crap.
Product vendors want you to buy something (their something!)...so they make a sales pitch. However they make it (traditional/social etc.), the purpose is to get you to buy their widget. Companies have social media campaigns with one purpose in mind. Sales. NO ONE posts on social media out of an altruistic love of humanity or to further the education of the human race.
This blog is no exception, BTW. We hope that by sharing our core beliefs about documentation, content, the nature of the universe and other stuff, we hope you’ll either like us or realize how great our writers are and hire our services.
So the next time you hear a sales pitch where a well-intentioned but somewhat clueless sales person tries to convince you that you can deploy their fantastic widget, save millions of dollars and everything will run smoothly, remember their motives.
Be a smart shopper. Insist on a product trial. Check out their customer support during the trial. Speak to other customers.
Don’t dismiss or ignore concerns of existing customers. Remember that once you are no longer a prospect but an existing customer, you will most likely have the same experiences as their current customers.
Social media campaigns are just like those pictures of me on the beach with my business partners and out at great lunches. What were we doing the rest of the 3 weeks since the last photo on the beach or steak? (Hint: We bring laptops and tablets to the beach and out to lunch.)
When you read a success story, you know the purpose is to make you buy something. It’s showing the absolute best angle of that product. What happens for the other 99% of customers?
Find out before you plunk down your cash and DEMO, DEMO, DEMO!
Consider the snapshot versus the other 99%, and everything won’t seem as perfect as you imagined. Align your expectations with reality and you’ll have a much better chance of success as well.