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5 Ways Social Media Can Destroy You

5 Ways Social Media Can Destroy You

At the onset of the Internet age, we were led to believe that the more information you have, the better off you are. No data is bad data and all data is useful. But then came social media.

Social media was supposed to be a great equalizing tool. It was a way to share your opinions with friends and strangers. More importantly, it was a way for people to come together to celebrate their achievements or protest their disappointments. It gave a voice to everyone.

But social media has an infamous dark side and the more people share, the more serious this side becomes. As it turns out, living your life online has serious consequences for your self-esteem, your relationships, and your career prospects.

Here are five ways that social media can destroy you.

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1. Oversharing

People who posted three million updates a day used to be funny.

But oversharing does not look the same as it used to because we’re not talking about gratuitous pictures of brunch anymore. Oversharing has people fighting about highly personal matters in the public sphere. They share their personal identification details online. All that is just what they share publicly, never mind private messages.

Oversharing will get you into huge trouble. It’s like airing your dirty laundry to your friends, your family, your co-workers, and the guy you met at the Shell station.  Oh and then there’s all your friends’ friends, family co-workers and the weird people they meet buying a Snickers.

2. Sharing the Wrong Things

Social media was fine and good when you accessed it from your computer.

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Back in the day, posting on social media looked like this: think of something funny. Make a mental note to put it on Facebook later. Log on to Facebook. Reconsider whether you’re as funny as you think you are. Post status/log off. Repeat.

Now, even your dog can Tweet with his Apple watch while you’re sitting in traffic. You’re losing three steps out of that process. Today, it looks more like: think of something funny. Post status. Repeat.

What you’re missing is that valuable time between making a joke and posting it online. That time is important because it gives you the space to figure out whether you’re hilarious or just kind of a jerk. Having that time prevents you from making a joke about the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Ultimately it stops you from being ridiculed and threatened by people you’ve never met.

3. Facebook Addiction

Facebook addiction was another hilarious joke until it became a serious problem. Now, even people who hate Facebook have a small subconscious need to get validation with likes.

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Facebook addiction is real and it is dangerous. Not only does it prevent you from living in the present, it can also leave you with crippling anxiety and insecurities. But few people talk about the real danger of social media addictions.

Facebook addictions make you boring IRL. Nobody wants to hear about what he said on Facebook, what she said on Facebook or what you said on Facebook. If they wanted to know, they would have already seen it, liked it, and moved on.

4. Becoming Internet Famous

The Instagram models will tell you that there’s nothing better than being Internet famous. It drives traffic to their websites and many have become millionaires from their bedrooms. But that’s not entirely true. Its fine for some but in most cases, it means having every shred of privacy ripped from you before you’ve even realized what’s happening.

Sometimes you’re made Internet famous because you over shared or posted the wrong thing. But sometimes, somebody just decides to make you their victim, maliciously or not. All it takes is one post, one tweet or one picture. All of a sudden, you’ll have hundreds of thousands of adoring fans and the media at your door step.

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But in all seriousness, you need to watch what you post because you’re only one silly picture away from becoming the next Ermahgerd girl.

5. Nothing Is Private

The real danger of social media is not that you might say the wrong thing to the wrong person. The real danger is the fact that one determined person with nothing else to do can find your name, your phone number, your address, your parents’ address, your third-cousin’s Twitter, your boss, your co-worker, your ex-lover, the ex-lover you briefly forgot about and use all this information to systematically tear your life apart piece by piece.

But why would someone go through so much trouble to do that? Because it was probably not that hard. There’s a good chance your own web presence coupled with some inventive searches led them straight down the trail to destroying your social life, your relationships and your career all in one fell swoop.

Social media can build you up. But the way it is used today can also tear you down. Keep this in mind the next time you post anything other than a funny cat video.

Featured photo credit: Ian Clark via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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