Why I'm Friends with George Takei (on Facebook)

Written by Jordan Danger, originally published on the Wellman Wilson Marketing blog.

Content is crucial, right? And with changes to social media channels like Edgerank on Facebook, plus the general speed at which social media travels, constant content seems to be the logical way to stay relevant to your followers—right?

Yes, it’s important to be content-crazy when you have a following, but let’s be thoughtful about it. While I understand that there are a thousand hilarious/cute/funny/incredible photos out there just begging to be shared, does your taste in memes really suit your brand? Are you just ‘talking’ for talking’s sake? Doesn’t that remind you of the dozens of dinner parties you’ve attended where someone just keeps throwing out random anecdotes to the room at large, AND do you really ever find yourself trying to BE that person? So why behave with less sense on the internet than you do when you conduct yourself in person?

MY CONTENT HERO: GEORGE TAKEI

Take George Takei. George is my friend on Facebook, and I am an avid follower of his many, many daily posts. I’m frankly not sure how George does anything else in his day other than a) find great memes, and b) come up with clever taglines for each of them.

Why is George so worth subscribing to, and why do I find myself actually SEEKING OUT his posts? Because George knows his audience. The majority of Takei’s posts are science or sci-fi related, which shows that he knows his nerdy followers and he knows what they want to hear about.

George will also throw in something personally moving or relevant, like an invite to fund a new play, or a story about same sex marriage. When he does it, people respond with equal fervor and, in the habit of sharing his less meaningful posts, they still click ‘like’ and ‘share’ at an impressive rate. George posts what is relevant to his brand—his personality—and consequently, I actually feel like I KNOW George as a person. That’s pretty cool. (I wish George knew me back. I love him.)

WHEN SHARING GOES BAD

A counter example is a little magazine I used to follow on Facebook. This mag posts photos everyday. They are technically following the rule book of social media: post often, ask questions, get people engaging. Trouble is, their magazine is about…well, I actually can’t tell you because about two seconds after I clicked ‘like’, I forgot; and every day since then, the only content they post are photos of cute puppies and impressive landscapes. I have no earthly idea what they’re selling me, telling me, or compelling me to do. I’m lazy, so I kept following them for a few months, but eventually I took the time to jump through Facebook’s hoops and unsubscribe to their page. I haven’t looked back.

SHARE THIS WITH TEN FRIENDS OR YOUR CAT WILL DIE

Constant content sharing, especially on Facebook, is quickly becoming the modern version of chain-email. Remember forwards? They mutated and took over Facebook. Now, forwards in and of themselves aren’t evil, but when I’d get ten of them a day about hilarious cat photos, sent to me by a colleague who I (heretofore) respected as, say, an expert clinical psychologist…well, let’s just say it’s harder to take seriously a shrink’s opinion on obsessive personality disorders when you can picture them hunched over a keyboard furiously copy and pasting photos of fat persian fluffballs.

I like memes, and I’m okay with you filling up my newsfeed with what you find funny, scary, informative, and stupid. But remember that what you post speaks for your brand and personality. It is a reflection on YOU. So if you’re going to post the ten funniest LOLcat photos of the year on your facebook page for your psychology practice, that’s fine; but I won’t be following, and the only people I’ll be referring to your services is the other three hundred people I know who really need a LOLcat support group.