Emanuela Zaccone Ecology

Social Media Ecology: make our timelines environmentally sustainable

Social-pollution syndrome causes discomfort. Here's how to recognize it and what are the objectives to be pursued to make our social ecosystem sustainable

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Social-pollution syndrome causes discomfort. Here's how to recognize it and what are the goals to be pursued to make our Socio ecosystem sustainablethe

by Emanuela Zaccone *

How many times have you seen status on Facebook of friends complaining because they read too many posts about the unexpected heat wave or do not tolerate the umpteenth re-sharing of that video that invades your timelines for a couple of days? And what about the tags on photos of places or events to which you are not present, made in an attempt to attract your attention and maybe collect some likes or retweets? Your discomfort has a name: Social-pollution syndrome. Social Media, which are also governed by algorithms, operating methods and business rules of their own, are ultimately living social networks that feed and change based on to user habits.

We can't choose where or how often to view an advertising campaign that we are targeting, but we decide with whom to make friends on Facebook, who to follow on Twitter or Instagram and who to add to our circles on Google+.

In other words, aWe have an active role in determining the characteristics of our network and a set of tools you can use to manage it.

If we find ourselves invaded of status on the heat wave or comments on the fact of the day it will be because we have in our network users sensitive to these issues. And each of them, in turn, will be a node of its own network. Claiming to regulate content that we like through complaints would be like going out on the street and shouting then, do we want to stop using all these polluting cars? and expect really that someone turns off and leaves the vehicle in the middle of the road to continue on foot.

The truth is that on Social Media we manifest interests, opinions and ideas, which often let emerge aspects of the personality that we didn't know when we made friends with a person or we decided to follow it.

How to do if the pollution rate reaches intolerable levels?

On Facebook the relationships between users are reciprocal: you and I make friends. Deciding to interrupt this relationship therefore becomes detrimental not only to me but also to the other user, who will no longer have access to the content that I decide to share exclusively with friends. Furthermore, for various personal reasons, removing friendship is often perceived as a drastic action, almost an affront. So how can you stop seeing the content published by that person while maintaining the friendship relationship? There are two possible ways: define groups of close friends and filter the timeline by displaying only their contents (a solution that can only be managed if you have a reasonably limited network of contacts), or go to the profile of the friend in question and delete the flag on Follow (the found on the photo cover below).

The speech changes instead for Twitter, Google+ and Instagram, all channels not characterized by mutual relations: they can follow someone without being followed by that same user. So here you will work more on a good organization of followers and in the cases of Twitter and Google+ on a more accurate management of lists and circles, very useful tools to quickly filter users and related published contents.

And what about wild tags in photos, status, tweets and the like?

All the main Social channels allow you to set privacy so that you can authorize the tags on the photos or forbid them from time to time. Facebook, for example, also allows you to check the visibility of the posts in which we are tagged on our timeline and to eliminate the tag altogether. Nothing to do instead for the mentions inside the tweets (it would not even be in the nature of the channel that makes of its mentions its strong point). In this case, trivially, just do not respond to what we consider spam.

Finally, since we are talking about Social, to point out to our contacts that we do not like certain behaviors which are certainly not forbidden, indeed.

What are the objectives to be pursued to make our social ecosystem sustainable? first no doubt consists of seek your own balance: build networks that can generate value for you and those who are part of it, places where you feel at ease.

Second: unpolluted. The simple rule here: don't let other users know what you don't want done to you, respect other ecosystems too. You're part of a bigger network: learn to improve it.

* Emanuela Zaccone, Digital Entrepreneur, Co-founder and Social Media Strategist of TOK.tvHas over 7 years of experience as a consultant and lecturer in Social Media Analysis and Strategy for large companies, startups and universities. In 2011 he completed a Research Doctorate between the universities of Bologna and Nottingham with a thesis on Social Media Marketing and Social TV.

Emanuela Zaccone Ecology