Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

6 Tips For The Social Media Loudmouth

We all know a loudmouth.

You might not refer to them as a loudmouth, maybe your label of choice is windbag or blabbermouth, but you know who I’m talking about. That person who is very, very quick to speak, and even slower to listen. They’re not fun to have at a party and they’re even less fun to share a meal with (as there is no way to escape from the table).

Note: If you can’t think of a loudmouth, or you don’t see anything wrong with the above behaviour, then maybe you’re the loudmouth in your group of friends. Maybe.

What’s So Annoying About A Loudmouth?

There’s nothing wrong with a person who likes to talk a lot. Conversation is great. Lot’s of conversation is even better. I know I’d rather be sitting at a table with a group of friends having endless chatter than endless awkward silence.

What’s so annoying about a loudmouth is not that they speak a lot; it’s that they don’t listen!

People want to be heard. Friends want to be heard. Conversation isn’t meant to be a monologue. Discussion is supposed to include at least two voices, otherwise it’s a lecture.

An Essential Tip To Use Social Media Well

Now we know that it’s not socially acceptable to be a loudmouth in offline social situations. We recognise that this kind of behaviour is self-focused and that it stunts relationships. Yet, give someone an account on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, and they can forget all social etiquete and regress into the ultimate online loudmouth.

Remember, social media—by definition—is intended to be social. Social media is in many respects akin to an online dinner party or market square of ideas and dialogue.

So whether you’re an organisation, business, church, ministry, or an individual, if you want to use social media well you’re going to have to be social, present, listening.

How Do I Know If I’m A Social Media Loudmouth?

Good question. Simple Answer.

Ask yourself, “Does my primary use of social media involve me, independent of others, writing and broadcasting my own thoughts and ideas?”

If your answer is in the affirmative, then you’re possibly a loudmouth, only broadcasting information, and never listening or engaging and joining in the conversation.

Just as there is nothing wrong with a person who talks a lot, there is nothing wrong with a person who updates social media a lot. The issue is with what kinds of updates they make.

The Exception to the Rule

There are always exceptions to the rules.

You may get away with being a loudmouth if you have some earned or perceived klout in the offline world. News agencies and celebrities are examples of this. You’re happy to only listen to a news broadcaster because you want to know what’s happening in the world. Also, consider how you might respond if a celebrity shared a meal with you. Perhaps you’d be willing to sit for three hours simply listening because of the value you ascribe to them. This flows on in social media as well.

However, if a news broadcaster has a well connected and engaged following, it will help when there is a breaking scoop. It’s likely one of their followers is there at the scene with a smart phone who could tweet or email a photo or give a first hand account. I know if I had a scoop I’m going to make contact with the news agency I’m most engaged with over the one that only broadcasts. And if celebrities respond to tweets and engage their following, the incentive for others to follow and engage with their account has just increased a hundredfold.

So although there are exceptions to this rule, there is still value in not purely being a broadcaster.

6 Tips For The Social Media Loudmouth

What’s a loudmouth to do?

Here are six tips you can begin to impliment today if you think you might be a social media loudmouth:

  1. Acknowledge by replying to someone who has mentioned you on Twitter or commented on your Facebook / Google+ status.
  2. Connect by showing interest and following or circling people in your niche.
  3. Listen by reading their updates. Twitter lists may make this easier.
  4. Encourage by retweeting, liking, or sharing other people’s updates.
  5. Contribute by adding a comment or replying to someone else’s update or question.
  6. Engage by asking questions, etc., as opposed to only broadcasting what you know.