The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Social Media Experience

2. Remember That Social Media Is a Means, Not an End

Recognizing that relationships are transactional, we should ask ourselves why anyone chooses to post to social media. It's a fairly unique action. You broadcast an idea to an audience as inclusive or exclusive as you choose. It might be a link to an article, a picture, a video, some kind of meme, or any length of prose from brief comment to crazed manifesto. Why post it?

We post to social media for the same reason we walk up and start a conversation. We're simultaneously offering and seeking value. When you post that cat pic or "taxation is theft" meme, you're telling the world (or whichever slice of it your privacy settings allow) that you believe the post has value. In return, you seek some acknowledgement of its value (a like, favorite, or retweet), or added value in the form of a comment. Social media is the means toward an exchange of values, not the value in and of itself.

Remembering this will keep you from getting obsessively sucked into meaningless arguments online. There's no point. You offered value with your post. Some will reject it. The only reason to interact with them further is if that interaction will provide further value. Perhaps you believe you might learn more about their perspective by engaging them. Perhaps you want to use the interaction as a stage for conveying ideas to lurkers. Perhaps you just enjoy trolling. Whatever the reason, make sure there is one. Not every comment deserves a reply.