You’re sitting at your computer staring at Twitter, and you’re thinking, “Hmm. I can count the responses on my @ page with half a hand. I don’t even need all five of my fingers for this.” You’re trying to figure out what the problem is. You’ve read everything out there about how to tweet. You’re keeping your tweets to 120 characters so that there’s room for people to retweet you. You’re posting links to interesting articles. You’re trying to talk to people. But it just doesn’t seem to be working. So you decide that it must be your persona, or your user handle, or some combination of the two, that’s holding you back. You’re going to start again, and this time you’ll keep a certain tonality through all of your tweets. You’ll update your avatar to really seal the deal!
You, my friend, are on the way to a serious ailment called Social Media Multiple Personality Disorder, or SMMPD.
I’m not just blogging about SMMPD, I’m also a survivor
You are not alone in heroically fighting this acronym of an ailment. I’ve had about as bad a case as doctors have ever seen. Over the last year, I’ve had:
4 different Twitter handles
3 different blog sites & URLs
2 different Facebook accounts
And I’m not even going to talk about my partridge in a pear tree.
This is serious, folks.
Now the nice thing about SMMPD is that it is a very preventable burden. You just need to put in a little time.
Start before you start
Do you remember the big 80s anti-drug war call, “Stop before you start?” If you’re too young to remember that, please don’t tell me. Anyway, to avoid Social Media Multiple Personality Disorder, you actually need to start before you start.
Start what, you might well ask, as well you should.
You need to start thinking about what exactly you’re going to be doing. You need to have a game plan. You need to have some X’s and O’s laid out.
I know, this can be a real buzz kill. You’re ready to jump on the Twitter and blogging bandwagon, right? But hey, look what happened to me. Do you want to admit, one year from now, that you went through 4 different Twitter handles? I would think not.
So, let’s talk about things you can plan in advance. These are things I really wish I would have thought about at least a little bit before signing into Twitter hastily during a lunch break (true story).
What are you hoping to achieve? When I started that first Twitter account, I had the very loosy goosy, not 100% honest objective of “seeing what Twitter was about so that we could discuss it with our clients.” That was part of my goal, but that’s not really something to shoot for. As a result, my tweets were scattered, not very personal, and probably were kind of boring. My blog? I had less of a plan for that. What do you really want out of Twitter? Or if you’re tweeting for business, maybe the better question to ask is what actually need from Twitter. What do you want your blog to do for you? Don’t say, “Oh, I just want to write.” Really think about it.
How are you going to achieve those goals? Your goals will create a path for you, but you can still decide how you want to travel on that path. Some people just walk on the path – their tweets might be straight-laced for the most part, very professional, very business-oriented, perhaps. Other people might run – they want to reach their objectives as quickly as possible. Still others might choose to skip or hop on foot. How are you going to travel on the path you’ve set for yourself?
Who are you? This probably seems like either a really deep and existential question or a really simple question. Either way you slice it, you need to know how you want other people to be able to answer this question. It doesn’t really matter how you answer it, right? You already know you. You already know your company. If you ask someone a year from now, “Based on my tweets or on my blog, who do you think I am? What kind of person am I?” what kind of answer do you want to get?
This is just the beginning of what you need to start on before you actually start tweeting or blogging. Now, don’t panic if you’ve already started tweeting and blogging. Take a step back, invest in some time to answer these questions, and then see if you want to stay on the path you’re on or if you want to move on over to another one. Changing once is “finding yourself.” Changing as much as I did is when you need to see your Social Media physician.
What I did wrong
So how did I end up with SMMPD?
Simple. I didn’t start before I started the first time, the second time, or the third time. I jumped from one idea to another without really thinking about the ramifications. I didn’t have a compass. I didn’t even have a destination. I was just loafing about, hoping that something I would say would magically become viral. Viral in a good way, not in an “Ew” kind of way. Guess what? It didn’t work.
Now let’s talk about you
Are you worried that you might be showing signs of SMMPD? Are you feeling that itch to change your name or move your blog or create a whole new online persona for yourself? Before you jump into something new, let’s talk about it. Why are you feeling the need to change? Have you thought about ways to achieve your goals based on where you are now?
Talk to me. Let’s prevent SMMPD.
Image by Benjamin Earwicker. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bjearwicke