Every day, I turn on my laptop at about 9 in the morning, and before I realize it, two or three hours have passed and haven’t really done anything useful. And every day, I keep asking myself: What have I done for the past couple of hours? And it’s always the same: read some news on Facebook, post some Tweets, reply to emails, Repin some pictures, Oink some locations…and the list goes on. Although I have a long day ahead, it seems impossible to start without doing all these little things, that, when put together, are extremely time consuming.
And since I’m not the only one who works this way, it got me thinking that, when it comes to social media, there are at least 5 unwritten laws that we sometimes follow, without even realizing:
1. Thou shall have friends
What’s the first thing that you must do after creating an account on one of these social networks? Find some friends. Because how can you be social, if you have nobody to talk to. And even if this though isn’t crossing your mind right away, there’s no need to worry. Most of these social networks will make sure that you take this first step, by suggesting friends or inviting you to find your friends by accessing other accounts. It only takes one friend request or follow and you’re hooked. Before you know it, friend requests will come pouring in. Next step, you’ll find yourself following people that you’ve never talked to in years or even people that most likely don’t know and don’t want to know who you are, since they have more followers than the population of an entire city.
2. Thou shall write
Once you have enough people following you, it’s time to give them a reason to stick around. That’s when you start writing. Even if you’re the shyest person in the world, you’ll still find the guts to post a video of your favorite song. Because what’s the harm in that? And if you chose to post a popular or controversial song, be sure that you’ll get at least a couple of reactions. It only takes one like to make you spread likes and retweets on pages, links, pictures and friends’ posts. You’ll start sharing photos of your own, sharing links to get more people on your site and even start telling people things that don’t really concern anybody else except for one or two close friends. But there will still be someone to like what you’re saying.
3. Thou shall read
Since your friends or followers are reading your posts, it’s only natural that you’ll read theirs. Some posts you’ll read because they are really interesting and you find out new things by doing so. Others, because they are posted by close friends and you know that you’re going to like what they’re saying. Some, because they make you laugh. Others, out of pure curiosity. But you’ll read most of them just because they are there. They are right in front of you and you just can’t avoid or just can’t refrain yourself from reading them. Before you know it, you’re addicted to checking your account every 5 minutes just to see what’s new.
4. Thou shall have more than just one account
When you’re all set up with one account, it’s clear what the next step is. Create another…and another, and another. It’s not enough to be able to write your opinions, when you know that you can also find out which Friends character you are or play FarmVille. It’s not enough to post and play, because you also need connections to find a new job. But you also want to show your friends the places that you visited, recommend books, movies and share your hobbies. One social network account is never enough. There are so many possibilities and you receive so many invites to other networks every day, that you have to see what they are ALL about.
5. Thou shall not delete your account(s)
At some point, you’ll realize that you’re wasting so much time on these social networks, that a crazy idea will come to mind. What if you deleted them all? But can you, can you really find the strength to click or tap on that delete button and say goodbye to all these accounts? And if you think you’d eventually get used to not knowing when your 2nd grade colleague went to bed or how Angelina Jolie spent her weekend or not playing FarmVille and not sharing your hobbies, could you even get used to not checking and replying to your emails? Can anyone of us live today without email? And when you finally find the madness (or strength) to do it…surprise! Some of these social accounts still keep your account available even for months. Just in case you come back to your senses. Because, in the end, there’s no escaping social media.