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Social Media: Do not litter!

 Ever create a website or blog, and eventually desert it only to come back months later? Its sort of like going away on vacation and leaving a messy apartment behind only to have to clean up the mess when you return. This is what Livingston speaks about it in his latest entry titled “Clean up your Social Media Litter”.

 It seems these days that the question isn’t weather or not you are part of a certain social media networks, but whether or not you upkeep them properly. Livingston talks about this in terms of companies and organizations, and creating social scars. In other words, organizations try to adapt and often disregard the tool, leaving behind “internet litter”, which could be picked up later, or just left there. Livingston suggests that this means that a) there is a lack of understanding about how online efforts can impact your brand, b) efforts are seen as a way of trying the latest tactics rather then a well thought out long-term strategy and c) organizations don’t understand the dynamics of web communities.

 I couldn’t agree with Livingston more. If you create a Facebook page – you need to keep updating it and keep it current. The same goes for websites, blogs, twitter, etc. These are efforts that should be integrated into strategies, not just fun tools to try out only to disregard them later. Livingston also touches on unfinished web pages, and how important it is to direct people to something they can use while something else is under maintenance. Otherwise, it sends a message that the organization doesn’t care. As future PR practitioners, we need to understand the importance of maintaining these tools, not just the initiative to get them off the ground. We also need to know when a tool works or when it dosn’t. When it dosen’t work – we shouldn’t leave old information lingering in the webspace to confuse our publics.

 On a personal level, social media litter might not be so bad, however this coming from someone with many blogs that haven’t been updated for months and some for years. Perhaps I should take Livingston’s advice on this matter. Time to clean up that 3 year old Livejournal account.

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June 7, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site

3 Comments »

  1. There’s nothing more annoying then going to an organization’s website and seeing that they haven’t updated it in 2 or 3 years. It’s completely static and, well… dead. What’s the point in having it in the first place if you don’t have the resources or inclination to keep it fresh?

    Without fresh material, or an update, your audience is going to get sick of it, quickly. It’s like those people who shouldn’t be using social media creating a facebook profile and then never adding a photo, or so much as a status update. What’s the point, really? Conformity or perhaps they had the best intentions.

    In terms of Livingston, I completely agree. You need to either a) update or b) delete. Don’t just leave it laying around in cyberspace – otherwise it will start looking like the earth’s orbit from all the old satellites and spaceship pieces floating around; you know there’s good stuff in there, you just have to muddle through the dirt and junk to find it.

    Great post Sarah!

    Comment by heatherjchafe | June 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Sarah, this is so true! And an aspect of the online world that never crossed my mind.

    Over the span of my online life (since grade 7 at least), I have tried out many different social media tools. Seriously too many to count. Everything from hi5, Myspace and others I can not remember the titles of. But I have yet to think of my unused accounts as Social Media Litter.

    Plus how many companies have you looked up online, only to find their website contains information that is no longer relevent. Annoying and frustrating are the few words that come to mind when these abandoned are discovered.

    Makes you think again about the mess individuals and companies are leaving behind in cyberspace.

    Comment by jenniferspicer01 | June 8, 2009 | Reply

  3. What? You mean my inactive LiveJournal, DeadJournal, Xanga and four or five different myspace, hifive, etc. accounts are taking up valuable server space and I should just bite the bullet and delete them?

    You know what, you’re absolutely right. I think my internet litter has personal implications as well though. Sure, all of my stuff is private now, but in grade 7, when I was 13, I wasn’t thinking about potential employers finding my blog posts (even though I didn’t even know I was “blogging”) and my mom was too busy running after my five younger siblings to sit down and search out what I was writing on the internet. Today, I definitely wouldn’t want those potential employers reading my teenage angst ridden woes of my boyfriend breaking up with me and the time I almost got caught copying my best friends’ french homework in algebra class (not that I have EVER copied anyone’s french homework right?). More than that (well, almost), I’d rather my husband not find my declaration of undying love to my 13 year old boyfriend who I swore I never really liked or my current friends collide worlds with my old friends that I haven’t talked to in years and have stories come back to haunt me that I thought I left back in the US four years ago when I moved here. It never ceases to amaze me what people (including myself) put on the internet.

    You’ve convinced me. I may just go delete those accounts right now…

    Comment by deehopkins | June 8, 2009 | Reply


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