Awkward Social Media Moments

Relax. We all have them.

Awkward Social Media Moments (ASMM) are inevitable.

Especially, when most of us can only stumble around the 17 year old web (the World Wide Web was commercialised in 1995) as toddlers, or tweens at best.

Facebook is a social utility (just like gas and water?) that enables people to connect with friends (strong ties), strangers (weak ties) and everyone else ‘online’ who dares.

Unlike my current utilities providers, Facebook is constantly refining its product and service offering to community members via ‘new releases’ or user interface updates.

Most of us turn a blind eye and deaf ear to these changes. That is until we notice a new tab, or that our profile looks different and we can’t find that short cut button or right click where we use to.

So we grumble and moan for a post or two, but then continue with our daily business online unperturbed.

However, with the increased frequency of user interface updates of high-use and high profile online platforms, like facebook, come increased opportunities for ASMM, TAT’s (Troll Attacks on Twitter) and moments of SMR (Social Media Remorse).

Such was my experience recently…

The other day, a friend posted a video of his daughter on a swing. I made a comment on what I thought was his wall, however, I inadvertedly reposted his video onto mine.

I’m still not sure how I did it, but when I eventually realised what I’d done (a couple of days later!) = #AwkwardSocialMediaMoment.

You see, I’ve never met this particular child and there was no ‘reason’ to share the family movie to a wider audience. Thus my repost, simply didn’t make sense.

Not surprisingly, I facebook messaged my friend and apologised, explaining what and how it had transpired.

He’s a lovely guy and I’ve known him for over a decade, but is someone I see infrequently (beyond Facebook).

I knew (hoped) he’d be understanding (which he was). But this Awkward Social Media Moment (ASMM) got me thinking…

  1. What is the impact of strong/ weak ties (social capital) in resolving/ minimising potential conflicts via misunderstanding in this pseudo-private Facebook environment?
  2. How often do user interface upgrades impact public communications/ interactions in social media communities?
  3. What is the scope for and impact of misinterpretation in ASMM?

This is especially interesting for me (Governance), given neither novices or seasoned users (who are usually guiding individuals, brands and businesses) are immune to being ‘caught’ by tech changes.

So thinking practically, how can you manage/ resolve / insulate the individual, team, brand or business?

In looking at possible (plausible) practical solutions, does a communications (control) system need to be introduced (beyond the charter and legal obligations of big business) to better educate / update online users? Will this satisfy any potential breeches of both private,  personal and public communications? Is the current system enough? What is the current system? #WatchThisSpace.

For the moment, I’m still comfortable with my original hypothesis pertaining to the bastardisation of the word ‘expert’:

There is no such thing as a social media expert.

While some of us are a little more knowledgeable in this space than the majority (probably because we also ‘live’ online), beyond the clever souls who create the actual social technology platforms, online, as in life, everyone makes mistakes – some inevitable, most avoidable.

Either way, at the end of the day, ALL ASMM are an opportunity for learning.

So, get up, dust yourself off, learn from your failures and keep practicing The Art of Social! 🙂

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