Can You Be Too Anti-Social For Social Media?

Oct. 20, 2010
I put a cartoon in my social media book with the caption, “Burt is too anti-social for social media.” It turns out there are a few Burts in this world.

I put a cartoon in my social media book with the caption, “Burt is too anti-social for social media.” It turns out there are a few Burts in this world.

One of my co-workers showed me a marketing writer’s screen on Facebook. I recognized her name. She writes a lot and her work appears in a number of blogs. She’s always seemed to have a good grasp of the marketing function. That’s what made the status update curious.

This marketing guru essentially told everyone to sod off. She was far too important to be just anyone’s Facebook friend. Only a select few would be so honored. Everyone else should quit sending her friend requests because she’s going to reject them out of hand. She’s simply too busy for this tripe.

Wow. And she’s a “marketing” writer? I wonder if she realizes she just told current and potential clients to take a hike?

She may know a lot about the marketing mix, but doesn’t get social media. The point is to be “social.” It’s to build “relationships,” even with people you don’t know well. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to “build” relationships. From a business perspective, it’s a little like attending a Chamber of Commerce mixer without the need to fight traffic.

Relationships are built by getting to know a person and revealing something about the real you in turn. It’s identifying and building upon points of connection, of common interest. People aren’t monolithic. They’re complex. That’s what makes them interesting.

Facebook and other social media inherently demand a degree of transparency into your personal life by your business friends and your business life by your family and friends. Many are uncomfortable allowing the two to mix.

Maybe marketing writer gal was having a bad day, but I don’t think so. When I looked at her Facebook wall, the comment was consistent with the few other updates she’s made. Plus, for someone whose writing is as popular as hers, she has very few friends on Facebook. Of course, she might be doing better with Twitter or Linked In.

Social media’s transparency also necessitates self-restraint and discretion for business owners and managers. Go off on a poorly thought rant, like marketing writer gal, and you will hurt your business. I know I’ll never be able to read her writing the same way.

Your political opinions are like body odor. You might enjoy a good sweat, but everyone else keeps their distance. Even if 90% of your customers agree political point-of-view, can you afford to irritate the remaining 10% of your base?

Shill for your business like the overly enthusiastic life insurance salesperson at a cocktail party and don’t be surprised if people begin to shun you. And don’t post while angry or intoxicated.

If a customer wants to be your Facebook Friend, think carefully before saying no. If you don’t want the customer to see your family vacation pictures, use your privacy settings to control who sees what.

If you simply cannot restrain yourself, create multiple personas. Create one that’s strictly for family and close personal friends and another for business and acquaintances.

Of course, you might be too anti-social for social media. If you’re the type of person who sits along a wall with your arms crossed at a party or who only talks business at a business lunch, maybe you should avoid social media.

Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable. He welcomes your social media connections on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, his Comanche Marketing blog, or you can simply email him or call him at 877.262.3341.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel was a co-founder and CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization. Matt was inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame in 2015. He is now an author and rancher.