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Friday, September 28, 2012

How much is too much information?

When you're going through a tough time, it can be very, very hard not to bare it all on social media.

We've all seen it happen - a friend goes through a breakup, and suddenly every Facebook update, blog post, and tweet goes waaayyy too much in detail about how broken-hearted they are.

It's uncomfortable to read, and it makes you feel sorry for them. And probably not in the way they'd hoped.

Roy Lichtenstein's Crying Girl. From

But, can such moves be helpful?

Last week, Susan Hurrell of Winnipeg web design company Modern Earth Designs gave an interesting presentation on search engine optimization to my marketing class. She mentioned the importance of keeping connected with your clients and building relationships.

She told us the story of a social media manager for an organization who was perusing her Twitter feed one Saturday evening. She read a tweet from the personal account from one of her company's major clients. The tweet said something like this, "Stood up again. Alone on Saturday night."

She quickly sent him a sympathetic tweet, and then on Monday morning had a bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates delivered to his office, with a note that said something like, "You're a great guy and deserve to feel special!" The whole stunt went viral, and garnered unprecedented coverage for her organization.

I Googled "sad tweet" and this came up. From

Now, the cynic in me wants to think this was a move that took advantage of an individual's vulnerability in order to gain attention for a corporation.

But on other hand, the guy did post it on Twitter. Obviously he wanted some attention.

Posting such personal messages on Facebook and Twitter can also let your followers know why you haven't been performing up to par lately. Posting a sad tweet or status update informs your friends, instructors, and possibly employers on what's going on in your life, without having to have an awkward face-to-face talk about it.

In an age where it's becoming more and more socially acceptable to let it all hang out online, such moves are almost expected.

In my opinion, it's okay to post a couple cryptic updates here and there, but discretion is still key. As tempting as it may be, try not to rely too much on Facebook in times of trouble. There's nothing wrong with the old-fashioned way of dealing with pain - blasting Adele as you lie in bed with a tub of raw cookie dough (hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it).

What do you think? Has the Internet desensitized us to human emotion? Should we just keep our problems to ourselves, or is it okay to post them online? Let me know!

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