GiftsFor past Christmas blog posts, I have shared lists of things bloggers and readers could give one another for Christmas. This year, let's take a different spin on social media giving!

7 Social Media Christmas Gift Ideas

Here are seven social media Christmas gift ideas anyone active on social networks can give to others. Having received many of these gifts from friends on Twitter and Facebook this year, they are all true blessings.

1. Show up regularly

If you have spent time on social networks and made strong connections, show up regularly to maintain relationships. Various people I've known have made huge social media debuts on Twitter, talked frequently across multiple platforms, and then completely disappeared. When you create social network-based friendships, don’t suddenly disappear without saying a word any more than you would disappear unannounced from an in real life friendship.

2. Share a “truer” picture of your life

Everybody uses social networks to try putting the best spins on their lives and successes; Facebook and Twitter are definitely “share success to impress” territory. Give everybody a break and present a truer picture of yourself. It’s fine to share your successes, but don’t share all of them. Also share insight into your challenges, too. Both you and your friends will be more human for you having shared a truer picture of your life.

3. Listen (and not just in a “social media listening” kind of way)

Social media listening is important for social media success. But in this case, the gift of listening is going beyond simply having bunches of social media feeds you monitor. Really LISTEN to people you interact with on social networks. Read between the lines and spot people experiencing difficulties they won’t fully disclose or joys at which they only hint. Reading between the tweets and updates is a gift that is always appreciated.

4. Respond to questions

One of my least favorite things on a social network is when someone asks a question, people follow-up with answers and perspectives, then the person asking the question never responds – to anyone. Maybe they can’t get to everyone, but try to interact with those who offer responses. And if you see someone asking a question – particularly one where they’re looking for information or ideas – respond. . .unless the questioner has burned you before by never answering previously asked questions.

5. Offer your help and your perspective when someone needs it

There are definitely times I share Twitter or Facebook updates with oblique references to things going on in my work or personal life. It’s such a joy when a close social media friend (only a few of whom are in real life close friends) messages to see what’s happening. Sometimes it’s nothing but venting. Other times, it is a bigger deal, and I don’t have anyone to talk with about it in person. It’s wonderful when a close friend reaches out to offer their advice and words of encouragement.

6. Start a conversation with a lurker

Start conversations with people, especially those who need someone to talk with them. Reach out to the people who leave great comments or like your content occasionally, but don't seem to interact when you see them pop up in your stream. Give the gift of trying to bring lurkers in your midst into conversations.

7. Fewer food pictures, unless the food is really beautiful or really unusual

There’s no need to share pictures on social media of everything you eat. If a dish is exceptionally beautiful, share it. If a dish is very unusual (i.e., it is extreme, surprising, or nostalgic), go ahead and share it. If it’s microwave mac and cheese and you’re simply pissed off about it being the only thing in the house to eat when you're too tired to go get food, give your friends a break and keep the picture to yourself! - Mike Brown


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