Four Dangerous Assumptions to Make in Social Media

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There is a lot of discussion about “best practices” in social media, and the best ways to use social networking sites. When you step away from the proper usage recommendations, though, and into everyday use, the problem isn’t the messaging or use of these sites, the problem can be the way your messages are perceived on the other side, without you even knowing. Even if you are very clear about your goals and uses of social networking sites and cater your messages accordingly, you never really know what observers will think about what you’re putting out there. We all make assumptions about who is reading, what people will think and how they will react, and that creates the boundaries we use to decide what to post and not post. But it doesn’t always work out how we intend. Here are some of the assumptions I’ve seen made that have the potential to backfire horribly.

1. My clients who aren’t active in social media won’t see my messages.

I have seen many, many freelancers and business owners make disparaging comments about clients who don’t have social media accounts, usually in spur-of-the-moment frustration about work or communication. And I’ve seen several of them having to explain, retract and apologize for those comments. In many cases, a person doesn’t need an account on a social media site to read updates, and a client who you may not think is very technology-savvy can still stumble across your accounts and read your postings. Or worse, an employee, colleague or family member could fill them in on comments that have been made.

2. I have a private personal-only account, so anything goes.

With all of the privacy issues and confusion in social media these days, I think it’s fair to say that everything you post in social media has the ability to see the light of day. Even if you have taken every step possible to ensure your content is private, you never know when someone you’re connected with will share something you’ve posted publicly, negating all privacy measures you have in place.

3. That controversial comment was just a joke, everyone knows that.

It’s easy to sit in the social media bubble and feel secure that you know of everyone who is following your updates. You do, after all, get notified when you get a new follower or friend request. Remember, though, that there may be people tracking your updates and posts without revealing it to you, and you never know how an off-color joke could be perceived by someone you didn’t even know was watching.

4. All of my followers/friends know that I’m [fill in the blank].

You know what’s going on in your life, and your good friends and family that you communicate with on social media sites know what’s going on with you. But when you post something that could potentially have a very different meaning without the back story, you run the risk of being ill-perceived. This doesn’t mean you need to censor yourself, just that it’s probably smart to run your comments through a quick filter so you’re at least aware of potential misunderstandings. What are some of the assumptions you’ve seen made in social media that can be harmful? Image credit: dreamer07

Frequently Asked Questions about Assumptions in Social Media

What are some common misconceptions about social media?

There are several misconceptions about social media. Some people believe that social media is only for the younger generation, but in reality, people of all ages use social media. Another common misconception is that social media is only for personal use, but businesses can also benefit from using social media to connect with their customers and promote their products or services. Additionally, some people believe that all social media platforms are the same, but each platform has its own unique features and user demographics.

How can social media assumptions affect my business?

Assumptions about social media can negatively impact your business. For example, if you assume that your target audience doesn’t use social media, you might miss out on opportunities to connect with potential customers. Similarly, if you assume that all social media platforms are the same, you might not choose the best platform for reaching your target audience. It’s important to understand the realities of social media in order to use it effectively for your business.

Are all social media platforms the same?

No, all social media platforms are not the same. Each platform has its own unique features, user demographics, and best practices for posting content. For example, Instagram is a visual platform that’s popular with younger users, while LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that’s popular with business professionals. Understanding the differences between platforms can help you choose the best ones for your business.

Is social media only for personal use?

No, social media is not only for personal use. Businesses can also benefit from using social media to connect with their customers, promote their products or services, and build their brand. In fact, many businesses have found success by using social media as part of their marketing strategy.

Is social media only for the younger generation?

No, social media is not only for the younger generation. People of all ages use social media. While younger people may be more likely to use certain platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, older adults are more likely to use platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s important to understand the demographics of each platform in order to reach your target audience.

Can social media be harmful?

Yes, social media can be harmful if not used responsibly. For example, it can contribute to feelings of loneliness and depression, and it can also be a platform for cyberbullying. However, when used responsibly, social media can be a powerful tool for connecting with others and sharing information.

Can social media be beneficial?

Yes, social media can be beneficial. It can be a powerful tool for connecting with others, sharing information, and promoting businesses. However, it’s important to use social media responsibly and be aware of its potential downsides.

How can I use social media effectively for my business?

To use social media effectively for your business, it’s important to understand your target audience and choose the right platforms to reach them. You should also create engaging content that resonates with your audience, and interact with your followers to build relationships and foster community.

How can I avoid making assumptions about social media?

To avoid making assumptions about social media, it’s important to stay informed about the latest trends and research. You should also be open to learning from others, and be willing to adjust your strategies as needed.

What are some best practices for using social media?

Some best practices for using social media include understanding your audience, choosing the right platforms, creating engaging content, interacting with your followers, and using analytics to track your performance and make improvements.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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