Five Social Media Resolutions for You

January 4, 2012

Are you ready for a new year of blogging?

I know I am.  I spent the last week doing a lot of thinking, and I’ve got lots of ideas for the coming months for making this blog better, broadening the content and including new perspectives.  Good stuff.

Before we get to all that though, we’ve got to lay down some ground rules for the new year.  Yeah, I know.  Monday, I said that your only necessary resolution was to think.  Well I’ve done some of the thinking for you already.  Follow my advice, and you’ll be off to a great start.

See, blogging and social media is maturing as a platform for ideas.  What was just some emo kids with Xanga pages a few years ago is now a democratized exchange of ideas and information.  But there are just some annoying habits that are still hanging on, some things bloggers need to let go of in the new year.

So, here are my blogging resolutions for this year.  I hope you and the rest of blog-dom can embrace them too to make blogging better and less annoying for everyone.

Enough with the Hashtag Jokes

When the Twitter gods created their universe, they blessed it with hashtags, an easy means to search for people tweeting about a common interest.  But like all things that were once good, people have twisted them to their own idiotic designs.

Hashtag “jokes” (and I use the term “joke” loosely) now permeate not only Twitter, but Facebook, Instagram and blogs themselves.  I’m not talking about people responding to things like #LessAmbitiousMovies.  I’m talking about people who litter their tweets with #pointless #hashtags and #nonsensical #inside #jokes like this:  #hashtagjokesarepointlessandstupidandIwillstartunfollowingpeoplewhousethem

Yes, I Unfollowed You

My Twitter interactions lately have started to become dotted with tweets like the following:

“@MattisAwesome, @TimTimmerson, and @TheBiebs unfollowed me today.  Checked by fllwrs.com”

If you have a service that sends out auto tweets like this, stop it right now.  That’s right, I unfollowed you because your tweets reek and so does your avatar.  Why are you advertising this?  Is this supposed to make me feel guilty?  Because all it does is prove that you deserved to be unfollowed.

Yes, Everyone Likes Starbucks and Apple

I follow a lot of people on Instagram.  It’s a freaking sweet app that makes any crappy iPhone photo look amazing.  But for the love of Pete, can all you Christians on Instagram please stop taking pictures of your Starbucks coffee cups and Apple laptops?  We all love coffee.  Everyone loves Apple.  You aren’t showing anyone how cool and unique you are by giving free advertising to multi-billion dollar companies.

My resolution this year is to start unfollowing people who take photos of their coffee and computers.

Get Some Perspective

If there’s one thing the internet allows, it’s people to think more highly of themselves then they deserve to.  I love it when people call themselves social media “experts.”  It’s incredibly self-important sounding, especially for what is essentially a made-up profession.

Here’s my point: a lot of bloggers, when they get even the slightest whiff of attention, suddenly deem themselves “experts,” “consultants,” “coaches,” or “mentors,” to other, lesser bloggers.  Get over yourselves, bloggers.  The blog world is still very small.  The Christian blog world is tinier still.  Your blog “fame” doesn’t mean a damn thing in the real world.  Stop calling yourselves “influential” on your about pages.  If I haven’t heard of you, then your influence on me is zero.  

Get Some Real Goals

For that matter, bloggers, get some real goals.  Every other blogger hopes their blog leads to a book deal.  Why is publishing a book the end all of blogging?  Not that I don’t want to publish a book in my lifetime.  But remember this:

Blogging is a fun activity, but it’s never going to be the most important thing you do.  Blogging is also not your golden ticket to a more glamorous life.  Your blogging idols who got to quit their jobs just to blog are not the most important people in the world, so stop kissing their digital butts, name dropping them like crazy and trying to hitch your wagon to their star.

A lot of Christian bloggers are desperately trying to become “influential,” whatever that means.  What they don’t get is that your influence doesn’t mean a thing without doing something actually important to back it up.  Go get a real job.  Stop worrying so much about publishing your work and instead devote yourself toward polishing your work.  Until that happens, you’ll never get published.

Trademarked

Finally, and this is just for me, I have a goal this year to trademark my own name.  That way, when people say my name because they want my attention, they have to pay me royalties.

Okay, I’m glad I got that out there, because those are just as important for me to remember this year as they are for you.  So, what are your blogging goals for 2012?  What bad habits should the blogging world leave behind this year?

33 responses to Five Social Media Resolutions for You

  1. Hi Matt,

    As one of the “other, lesser bloggers” you mention, I acknowledge that 90% of what you say here means nothing to me; I just don’t understand the jargon. I’ve never heard of a hashtag or an unfollow. And I’ve only been into a Starbucks once in my life. So I’m just out of step with you younger people.

    My own blog serves as my personal diary and I’ve kept a daily diary for about 35 years now. My grown children bought me a computer and set up my website and blog about six years ago. So I just started using the blog as I’ve always used a paper & ink diary.

    For some reason over a hundred people read over my shoulder each week. A handful leave comments. I do publish my diaries each year as part of a series, A Dirty Old Man Goes Bad. And a few of the things actually sell. But my intended reader I call the Kid In The Attic who may find a dusty copy of my diary a hundred years from now and I want him to see what a Christian life was like–for good or ill–in real time for one guy at the turn of the 21st Century.

    A medical problem hinders me from posting the past week or so, but I is what I is. And I do what I do because I do it.

    Maybe I’m just part of the antisocial media.

    John

  2. Yeah, I’m guilty of using hashtags on FB. Which is pointless because FB doesn’t even have that capability…yet.

    I chuckled when you said that we advertise for those billion dollar companies because it’s true. We pay them to advertise for them. How does that work again? Oh yeah, we use their stuff, wear it and flaunt it in front of others to see. Side note. In the 1800’s when you bought a shirt or a jacket, the company would put their name on the insides of the clothing. Now it’s on the outside.

    Honestly, my blogging goal is to not care how many people follow me or leave comments. I’m not saying that for an excuse to be lazy, I just hate feeling like I HAVE to post something today or I won’t be cool like all the other popular bloggers who are out there getting book deals and on Twitter 24/7. It’s just too much to worry about.

    I’m also sick of all these blogs about writing, how to be a better writer, 25 skills you need to get that book deal, etc. #gonnapunchsomeoneintheface #donthavetimetoreadallthisadvice #juststop

    Aside from blogging, I’d like to start looking at a Master’s program but my wife is already doing hers and I don’t think with us both having full time jobs, 2 kids and both doing an MA program is feasible.

  3. Definitely some good stuff, Matt. I promise I won’t take pictures of my 34 oz 7-11 coffee cup anymore! :) Thanks for giving me some things to think about.

  4. I would really like it if people would stop tagging me in pictures on Facebook unless they are really of me – and include my face.

    I have discovered that I don’t really have anything to say, so I am not sure where I will go with blogging. I am using Twitter regularly, and trying to refine the blogs/books that I have already written. I will probably rejoin KingdomBloggers.com in March, and I am thinking about co-blogging with TonyCToday.com

    One of the blogs I read had voting, and it appears that there are 3 times as many folks that vote than comment; I like the feature.

    Good job on the trademark, you have a good brand going here!

  5. Okay, that was funny! And great wisdom! #AndIAmGoingToRewardYouByTweetingItToAllOfMyFriendsBecauseImCoolLikeThat!!

  6. Love it and it is SO true. The allure of traffic and attention is there for anybody that blogs…if you pay attention to it. Like John, I blog for me, not you. It’s a way to organize my thoughts. If somebody can learn from my mistakes, great. If somebody can help me answer a nagging questions…greater still.

    Since I’m not an apple fanboy (i still use a BlackBerry – remember those?), would it be ok if I post a pic of my Mtn Dew from the local gas station?

  7. “Work on polishing your work, not publishing your work.” That is dead on Matt, and convicting. Thank you.

    And your comments on taking pictures of Starbucks and Apple, and the hashtags are hilarious.

  8. Can we also add no more pictures of skyline from the plane or sunsets on instagram? Every day there is like 10 pictures of sunsets.

  9. For the longest time I wanted to be an important blogger. I wanted people to need my blog, need my books, and need me. I’ve realized lately that it isn’t possible. I simply write about too many topics to be consistent at a theme. So my theme is that it’s just a blog about a Sailor. It’s hard enough to live a good Christian life when one is trying to out-do other Christians on the internet. So, Mr. Challies, Mr. Piper, et al, you are officially safe! LOL! Ok, so much for that. Thanks for the post, Matt.

  10. I definitely would love to publish a book someday. And I do want to be influential. But like you said, it isn’t the end-all be-all of who I am. I have bigger things to do beyond this computer screen.

    As far as blogging goes, I’m looking to do a few things: get 250 daily visitors, to host a giveaway, to do a guest post, and to start writing a book (okay, so that’s un-blog-related – whatever).

    Here’s to hoping some magical fairy drops my blog into 200 more people’s feeds! =)

  11. So very Matt @ The Church of No People. Which is sort of the point, right? Be who you are, and be it well instead of trying to be another version of someone else. (And yeah, “be it well” is probably a grammatical nightmare, but I don’t care.) Happy New Year, Matt!

  12. When I get my officially licensed and trademarked “Matt Mug”, I’m gonna insta-gram a picture of it.

    Be sure and follow me @CowboyMinistry so you can see it.

    #WittySelflessPromotion

    #Fail

    (Great post!!)

  13. Thanks for sharing my sentiment on the hash tag. I am a #hashtaghater. I guess I haven’t found a topic to chase with them yet.

    I am totally caught off guard when someone does read my blog because I just want to get this cacophony of thoughts out of my head and onto “paper.”

    With the improvements in self-publication a blogger really doesn’t have to wait to write a book, just write and hit send. The problem is if you make your goal writing a popular or good selling book. You need good ideas and good writing, none of your virtual relationships will replace those things. So drop names all you want but you better be practicing writing.

  14. Dude, you are sooooo real. I couldn’t have written it better myself. Your comments are a refreshing countermeasure to the narcissistic avalanche on my Twitter timeline. Keep up the good work. Full Armor!

  15. I’ve already published a book in English and Spanish and have another one on the way. They are totally unrelated to blogging. Thanks for the post though. Will be considering the goals as I post, Tweet & like. :-)

  16. Instagram photos of coffee and computers? I SO hope my lovely daughter reads this! 😎

  17. Well, I know, as a blogger, this might sound kind of bad, but I’m not going to be blogging as much.

    It’s alot of work, and then the reward, for all that work is what?

    Every now and then sometimes a thought will come to my head, and I’ll write about it, but other than that, I’m not going to be on the computer everyday blogging.

    It takes up alot of my time, and energy.

    As far as twitter and unfollowing, I’m so behind on that type of stuff. I have heard about hashtags but never even really knew what they were until today.

    Thanks!

    😀

    • zee – I looked at your blog. It’s definitely unique and I would venture to say unfilled niche. It would be a shame for the blogworld to lose you. I did not notice any stat counter on your blog. Perhaps if you put that on your blog, you would be able to see how many people visit and stick around. It would enable you to make a more informed decision on whether to keep blogging or not. We use a great Stat counter at statcounter.com.

      • – John In Haiti –

        I actually do have a counter. It’s kind of small and hidden, but it’s between the “About Me” and “Blog Archive”.

        I get about a hundred people who visit my site weekly.

        Thank you for the encouragement. It is an unfilled niche. Although there are a few other knitters and crocheters in this niche like myself.

        Actually, it’s probably my own fault. The reason why I started blogging in the first place was because I saw on tv how you could make money from blogging. Seeing that, I just up and starting a blog, not doing anymore research into it or anything.

        They didn’t say anything about how much time you must put into it, and on top of that, I’ve since done more research on blogging, since I first saw that spot over four or five years ago, and come to find out, you really don’t start making any money until you are two to three years into it. And that’s with consistent and constant work.

        :(

        Who’s got the time?

        Anyway, I did a little looking myself, and your blog looks great. Not just your blog, but your life work as well.

        I hope I can comment on your blog every now and then, and say “Hi”. You and your family are doing God’s work and reaching out to souls, and that is just awesome.

  18. Hi Matt! I had to think a bit before posting my response because I would initially say that I have two purposes to my blog: journal my thoughts so that I can go back and remember what God taught me in the past instead of having to have it re-taught to me and to share what is going on with my family to other family members, most of whom live about 1500+ miles away. However, as I thought about it, I also hope that my blog would be a witness to how amazing God is and maybe even plant some seeds in family members who don’t know God.

  19. So by trademarking your name, would that mean you make cash when we retweet your tweets? How about posts we like and share? I am not sure I can afford that kind of dough.

    Good thoughts overall. I am guilty of using crazy hashtags once in a while. I think when used in moderation they are fine, just not in like half your tweets.

  20. ha! “What was just some emo kids with Xanga pages a few years ago is now a democratized exchange of ideas and information.”
    Guilty as charged, as the Xanga kid… and the confused blogger. In my circles, (upper 20 somethings) we blew up our facebook networks as it circulated during our college years, and most of us haven’t bothered to go through and un-friend. So my request/ complaint is that I hear too much personal stuff from acquaintences. And I’d rather get an email with some of that, from my real friends. No more sonogram pregnancy announcements, no more profile pics with your exposed belly as it grows a child… mostly just girl stuff, I suppose.

  21. I don’t really have anything to say, I just wanted to mention that I’m a #lesserblogger #lookingforabookdeal, so #checkoutmyblog. #sentfrommyipad. :) (fun, Matt, rally. Although now I feel like my blog is pointless! Well, whatever, I’ll keep writing anyway. I think blogs are going to replace tv)