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Social media: The good, the bad and the stupid

Author: Carl Heaton
He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.
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We all have our things that we love and hate about Social Media. As part of our Social Media Marketing course we always ask what our trainees love and hate about SMM and the answers are all different but there are patterns that emerge. These social media good and bad similarities can help you know what to do more and avoid altogether:

The Bad things about Social Media

Privacy issues:

This is the most mentioned fear users have, having your information online does carry many issues that most people don’t realize until is too late… Examples of privacy issues go from the pure-silly (like these awesome Facebook fails that display in full bloom the stupidity of users) to the rather more serious complications of home robberies  and data stealing.



Social identity theft has become such an issue it’s wiki page  keeps growing and growing giving people some idea of how to fight it. Even MTV has taken notice of the trend and has produced Catfish, a reality tv show that finds people who are stealing some else’s persona online. Though the show is said to be scripted at times, the original movie is all truth and a great example of how easy it really is to create an entire fictional family by coping photos and info from anyone’s wall.

Knowing internet readers tend to have an affinity for the strange (and for the for the fun of it of-course) I YouTubed the ‘weirdest’ case they had (and though it could be just made up), it still gets pretty creepy/funny awesomely quick… Oh the wonders of the human mind:


Information overload:

Ok, this one relates quite closely with our point above, if people are sharing so much information their privacy becomes affected, then guess what will happen to the quality of things people post, it is just bound to become too much too irrelevant very quickly. I don’t think we can emphasise enough how important it is for content to be both useful and relevant, so if you ever find yourself posting meaningless stuff, beware! You are committing an internet crime…here are some awesome examples of the most useless posts I could dig up for you: social media good and baduseless-3


In the same way people just publish random and borderline-idiotic content, so do business, charities, government entities, websites, etc. It can all become too much very quickly, I think we have all experiment this phenomenon before, I mean, do you really pay attention to all the pages you are following? Isn’t your inbox slowly (but surely) filling up with notifications, updates, news, pokes, pins, shares, likes and so forth and then some more…? Man, sometimes it stresses me out when my phone won’t stop ringing from all this social interaction (which technically doesn’t even involve person to person contact of any kind!) I mean imagine the scope of how much information is really available to us when Google becomes the main player in break-ups just like this.

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How wonderful to see hope in people’s hearts! Because if I was to consider how many people I truly think are learning anything valuable from social networks….well! It kind of raises questions as to why there aren’t more farmers out there:



Getting serious now, there are some great examples of how the human mind has learned to take advantage of this new dawn of information we are experiencing, we have a post here that gives a good example. Information has never been able to moves as fast nor as efficient as it can now, people needing a very specific piece of knowledge are only one Google query away from finding what they need. In a similar manner, social networks provide the perfect environment for collaboration, curation, management and interaction of entire communities set up for a common purpose. Social forces like these have yet to experienced by humanity, the consequences of these massive scale collaborative efforts will create unprecedented results. Enough of my little thoughts, lets get dip into  the action. These are the most inspirational examples I could find (do feel free to suggest any others in the comments below!) Enjoy and go do something good for the world ☺ pearson.com:  Awesome online group that specialises in providing education and training for anyone looking to expand their careers. Here’s who they are in their own words:

“We are the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages make measurable progress in their lives through learning.”



codecademy.com:  This guys are great, you can learn to code some of today’s most popular languages free of charge and using a really cool user interface, try them! I’m  learning both Javascript and PHP using this tool and I can truly say it is a lot of fun (spoken like a true geek ☺)

mine craft edu picture

minecraftedu.com This one has to be my favourite, have you ever heard of mine craft? Well the developers of the world’s biggest sandbox program have adapted the game to educational purposes,! They do say playing is key to any learning experience and this website certainly takes that to heart. Pure awesomeness: just take a quick look at their resources page  which offers a quick impression of how it all comes together. And if anything else, we can at least be sure teachers themselves are learning on social media, check out this awesome list of resources for educators! The things that we can now conceive thanks to social networks are truly amazing; students and teacher get to share resources directly and collectively, in real-time and within the perfect platform for open discussion and collaboration. The age of a new dawn has begun and thing does look exciting! And now, you want to know what’s the best thing our students thought of social media?

Communication with others

No surprises here, this was the main advantage people perceived in Facebook and other social media. The idea that social networks have changed the way we communicate has become an understatement, social media has arrived to conquer and she’s feeling quite comfortable on the throne. Now I don’t think we can come up with a better example than what happens inside our mass transport system every day, phones and social networks are as omnipotent as innocence used to be. These platform have not only become our main channel of communication, but they have also literally changed the way we relate to one another, and though it still is too early to foresee the consequences of our behavioural adaptations, here are some great examples of the wonders that can be achieved with social media: I mean, did you know it is steadily becoming one of the best research tools in phycology?





Furthermore, there are social sites like Avaaz.com  being created around the globe. For the first time in modern history we are experiencing worldwide organisation of people around causes which they believe in, not only allowing them to share opinions and ideas, but networks like these allow for actual social action that can create long-lasting change in the real world. There’s nothing as inspiring as going through Avaaz’s success stories… The power of the mind will never cease to amaze me. And that goes to everyone, you do now have the power to communicate to an unprecedented amount of people, as long as you understand what you are talking about, do it with a purpose and for a seemingly good intention people will respond to that, and it’s not like they can help it really, we are all human beings after all.



Social Media Good and Bad: Something to take away

So after all of that, what does that mean for us as marketers in the online world? well, here are some points to think about: Lets try to remain objective about what’s an acceptable amount of notifications to send out, the main idea here is not to overwhelm our users. We have to keep in mind that quality is always better than quantity, if you are posting 4 times a day and nothing is getting shared, well, maybe it’s time to post less and make sure it gets shared more! It’s all about the engagement now a days, and you will never achieve this unless you only focus in those things your customers are interested in. Here are some practical tips to get you started:

  • Don’t sell on your social media:

As the owner of any business I know it sounds slightly unproductive not to be making sales on your social media, but that’s not the way it works. People are on their social networks mainly to pass the time, relax see what news or interesting facts are out there, and that its your job, get them interested in what you do without directly selling anything. Take Web Courses Bangkok for example, we never offer bookings directly from our social interactions, but we do share a lot of useful articles and interviews that are linked to our courses. You never want to be forcing people into your products, but rather, allow them to discover what you offer by themselves, those people are a lot more likely to purchase something from you than those users who feel they were tricked or forced to a booking/purchase page.

  • Be useful:

This is why is so important to understand who your potential costumers/audience are, what is it that they interested in? and how can you show your knowledge on that topic? As a professional, your social networks are the ideal platform to show all your expertise while creating a strong sphere of influence around your brand. Taking WCB as an example, people might not need a website right now, but they might be interested in online entrepreneurship, graphic design, online marketing or a number of topics that are slightly related to web design. As a school and agency, we don’t care about people buying our courses from Facebook or Twitter, but we are certainly interested in getting them to come across one of our tutorials or articles because we are experts in what we do, we love to share our knowledge and we are easily reachable through our wall. We have created a very positive image of our business

  • Ask questions:

It is a fact, people love to give their opinions. If you become good at engaging visitors in useful proactive discussion, then well, you have an entire group of people’s wall’s showing the world and their friends how insightful WCB are when talking to people online. It is not something that we need to worry about understanding, we just need to accept answering people on our social networks and always asking questions is a great way to make waves in the online world. Do it and do it good.

  • Be interactive:

People are also playful and love to participate, the best way to engage people is offering the opportunity to do so, trust me , they will follow! The most recent example I can give you happened last week, we needed to find a group of people to take our new course for web designers, here’s how Facebook helped us get 15 participants in a single day: social-shares 775 people reached, we got about 20 more people following our page (that’s right, 20 extra potential customers) on top of the fact that we now have choices when choosing who attends the course i.e which individuals are more likely to share their experiences online and increase our exposure even further. We could have struggled to find the people  ourselves, sending private messages and chasing people around, instead we let Facebook do the hard work for us while we only focus on finding the best candidates for our needs (end enjoy the extra free exposure ^^).

Use Hootsuite or other social sharing tool:

Technology is awesome and time is precious, why not take advantage of free services like Hootsuite which allow you to maintain all your social networking organised and run from the same application? We use it every single day and it makes our lives a lot easier, the social owl to the rescue! hootsuite logo picture And that is that! Thank you to all our lovely students for the topic, it was rather fun article to make. For those now interested in learning a bit more about social media and the ways of making it work for you rather than curse your life, you should know we offer a social media workshop and a full online marketing course. Bot of these courses will give you a clear idea of what to do and how to avoid some of the pitfalls of online media.   Don’t forget to learn something new today, bye!

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