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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Before You Go: ‘How to Have the Best Social Media Page’

CRL columnist John Gray goes through the dos and don'ts.

Welcome to March. If ever there was a month with an identity crisis, this would be it. Too warm for winter, too cold for spring. One day you have snow, and the next you’re getting a sun burn. One minute you’re dancing with a leprechaun, and the next you’re coloring eggs for a big bunny with an overbite. And what ever happened to all those New Year’s resolutions? Long gone—right? Well, perhaps not. Maybe this is the perfect time to make a change that is easy to do and will leave your friends happy at the same time. I’m talking about a facelift. No, not you, silly; I’m talking about your social media page. If we can’t fix you, let’s at least fix that.

Chances are you have a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Tumblr account. I’m not even sure what those last two are but they have cool names so I wanted to include them. Whatever your flavor of social media, chances are you find the experience fun and infuriating at the same time. Fun because you see the exciting things your friends are up to and infuriating because they share too much information about things you couldn’t care less about.
See if this sounds familiar: “8:01 a.m. Just woke up and I’m hungry. 8:02 a.m. I wonder if we have any frozen waffles. 8:03 a.m. I think I’ll get up and check the freezer. 8:05 a.m. Bad news, no waffles but I have Frosted Flakes so I’ll have a bowl of cereal. 8:06 a.m. You’re not going to believe this, but I’m out of milk.” #starving

These are the kinds of posts people put on Facebook assuming that all 639 of their “friends” want to know their every move and decision regarding breakfast. #wedon’t.
Since Capital Region Living is kicking off its “Best Of” issue this month I thought it might be helpful to offer my own advice on how to have the best social media page. And before you say, “Who died and made you the Pope of social media, Gray?” you should know I have more people on my Fox23 Facebook page than all of the other local TV people combined. It’s not that I’m better, smarter or more popular; I’ve just learned the hard way the kinds of things that make people run for the exit.

The don’ts
Rather than tell you what to do, how about I tell you what to “don’t”?

• Don’t tell us when you are fighting with your significant other. First up, most people don’t care. Second, you put us in an awkward position. Let’s say you tell us about some terrible thing your boyfriend did and call him a jerk. Now you wait for us to respond. If we don’t, it looks like we are heartless and ignoring your grief. If we do and agree with you, then what happens tomorrow when you make up with him? Now when we get into an argument with you over something stupid, you’ll reach into your bag of tricks and pull out the old, “Well you NEVER liked him anyway” line. So if you and your mate are having a spat; keep it to yourself. Please.

• Don’t ask me to play silly games with you on social media. If I wanted to be a farmer, I’d buy a farm. I like to eat candy, not play Candy Crush. In fact, if we’re being brutally honest, most people only have a page to brag about their life and eavesdrop on yours, not to play games.

• Don’t send me surveys or tests that tell me things about myself that aren’t real. I don’t want to know what secret color I am, what state I should be from, or what villain I’d be if I starred in a Disney film. Listen to me now because this is important. You live in Albany, not Utah. You’re not turquoise. You’re not Cruella de Vil. Stop passing those “BuzzFeed” quizzes around like a pre-schooler sharing the measles.

• Don’t fish for compliments. It’s too obvious. No more, “Do I look fat in this dress?” posts please.

• Don’t take selfies in the bathroom mirror. No matter how good you look, there’s toilet paper in the background. Enough said.

• Don’t post about politics and then get upset when someone disagrees with you.

• Don’t tag me in conversations with 10 other people and subject me to endless messages in my inbox.

• Don’t change your profile picture and relationship status more than twice a year. That’s plenty.

• Oh, and don’t post photos from vacation in real time. If you want someone to rob your house, just take out a full-page ad in the paper; it will be quicker. And last but not least:

• Don’t post photos of your pet more than once a week. The only exception to this rule would be my dog Max who is cuter than a basket full of kittens.

There you have it, my top 10 tried and true tips. I think you should post this column immediately on your page and tag everyone you know. Just kidding. I think.

John Gray
John Gray
John Gray is an Emmy-winning journalist and writer. In addition to his 32 years of television experience, John is the author of three children's books and two novels. He is married with three children. He and his lovely wife Courtney have five dogs, three of them are rescues with special needs. They make their quiet home in Rensselaer County.

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