After threatening to make his account private -- and a barrage with ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez -- Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram account. The move came shortly after his account was subjected to hateful, mean comments towards his new girlfriend, Sofia Richie.
Clearly, Bieber didn’t appreciate the overall mood and left the platform completely after amassing close to 78 million followers, making him the 7th largest platform user. What is particularly interesting about this case is not the juicy conversation between the two ex-lovers, but the fact that even most powerful social media users are not safe from abuse.
While social media was created with an initial concept of connecting people and keeping in touch with friends, it quickly turned into a major status symbol. Not only are people addicted to the social sites; they’re addicted to oversharing their private lives. Forget annoying photos of every meal, the real problem is that people now are almost expected to be sharing everything, subjecting their lives to “the mark of approval” from strangers online.
Social media also excuses being rude, vulgar and disrespectful while being up in everyone else’s business. Case and point -- Bieber got so tired of this, he deleted not only his Instagram, but Snapchat as well.
What can business owners learn from this? There are a few things.
Nobody is safe from mean tweets.
The internet is an unfiltered place with lots of weird, mean people. If someone hugely powerful and popular, who has millions, if not billions, of fans is getting heat for his romantic ventures, you are definitely not safe.
Keep it professional.
There are lots of bloggers, coaches and business people who think it’s a great idea to share their everyday lives with the public. Popular, modern advice for CEOs of large and small companies alike is to become the face of their company. While the logic of this advice is perfectly understandable -- you want your brand to be human, approachable and friendly -- in reality, it may hurt you in the long run.
Share occasional images of office holidays or birthday presents, but don’t get carried away. No one needs to see 15 photos of your children and grandchildren or images of your hot wife. Keep it to yourself. Going back to the Bieber-Gomez feud, the latter’s advice is “stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol - it should be special between you two only.”
People don't need to know everything about your life.
You can separate professional and personal life and still be well-liked and human. Take Justin Timberlake, for example. He doesn't post many photos of his family because he wants his followers to be more engaged with his music than his private matters.
Or, take a look at Mark Zuckenberg’s account (and try not to judge his initial filter choices). The guy has shared more photos of his dog than his family. In my opinion, it’s cool. He's still human -- even though being the youngest self-made billionaire takes away a bit from his human-ness.
In either case, people don’t feel like they know what your family had for breakfast this morning.
Do not engage in disputes online.
Take all the negativity offline. There are quite a few apparent reasons for this. Most importantly, it will rub off badly on you. Independently of who is right in the argument, you will look aggressive, negative and bitter. Not the best look on anyone.
Secondly, did we really need to know who cheated on who? Most people couldn’t care less. But once you put it out there, the whole world knows that you're both cheaters and have been heated on. Again, not the best positioning.
Haters gonna hate.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, there will always be people who try to bring you down. People are especially keen of this online. A sense of anonymity multiplied by a possibility of being seen by thousands of people really makes some people go all in.
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Monitor conversations about you and your business online with a sole purpose of positioning. If someone has a legitimate complainant, try to solve it. If someone is simply defaming you or your company, flag them, block them or contact them. Don't take it too close to heart. After all, haters will hate. You, on the other hand, continue to promote and grow your business that has people talking.
Remember the importance of separating your business and personal lives. Even if you don’t have millions of followers, your social posts still say a lot about you. Love it or hate it, this is how you portray yourself in the world, whether you’re a multi-millionaire CEO or a recent college grad applying for your first serious job. In the long run, it will save you a lot of mental peace and explaining.