Social media is the great unedited, unfiltered communication melting pot (or cess pool) of the world. But couldn’t it use some more filters? (Let’s start by filtering out all uses of the word “yummy”, any mention of a workout, pictures of feet at a beach, and any picture that might have been taken with a selfie stick.) I don’t just mean the common sense kinds of filters like “will this get me fired”” or “is this simply asinine?”, though quite a few (million) people should start with those immediately.
I’m referring to some level of thoughtfulness, filtering our social media content so that what is posted offers actual value to those who run across it. It’s a novel concept to think that our goal should be to offer value to someone other than ourselves, but here are three filter questions I use in an effort to put out decent social media content.
1. Is this informative?
Will your followers learn something new or engage a perspective that is fresh? Are you pointing them to a link or resource that is intellectually stimulating and smart? Are you solving a problem or making them aware of one? In short, you want the reader to know something they did not know previously after encountering your post. It could be discovery of a product or artist. It could be a valuable peace of information. It could be a life-transforming truth.
2. Is this thought-provoking
One of my goals in sharing content (my own or someone else’s) is for a follower to say “Huh, I never thought of it that way before.” I want to pique interest or offer a new angle. I want to share a clever or beautiful turn of phrase or article that tackles a tough subject. I want to make people think and do so in a way they might not have otherwise. And the great thing about social media is that I can lean on thousands of brilliant writers/thinkers/performers/artists/etc. by sharing their insights.
3. Is this entertaining?
There is value in simply helping people laugh, smile, and enjoy themselves. It could be cute animals or exceptional athletes on YouTube or a funny observation about society or quote on Twitter, if it entertains and isn’t mean then it’s worth sharing. (And remember there’s a different between poking fun or being satyrical and actually being mean, but that’s a blog post for a different day.)
Ideally, whatever you post makes it through all three of these filters, but any one of them makes a post worthwhile. If you can do all of this, and be wholesome for your intended audience (the first and foremost filter) then post away. We’ll all be better for it.