Is social media savvy a learned skill?

Today, on one the many social media blogs I follow, I saw yet another post on how to use LinkedIn effectively (“5 tips to improve your LinkedIn experience” or some such).

Also today, coincidentally, I received a generic “let’s connect on LinkedIn” invitation (the third in the past week and a half) from someone I have never met, and with whom  I have no connections in common.

One of the five tips to use LinkedIn effectively was not to send generic invitations, but rather to take the time to personalize the invitation and explain why you want to connect.

By the way, the invitation today was from another writer. I know she could’ve come up with a sentence or two on her own. But she didn’t. Was she being lazy? Does she understand how to use LinkedIn effectively? Has she never read an article about how to use LinkedIn effectively or is that I am the only one that has seen the same five tips regurgitated in article after article after article?

This got me to thinking: can you learn how to be savvy on social media or do you have to be born that way? Or put another way, are the people who could benefit the most from the “5 tips” articles precisely the ones that don’t read those articles BECAUSE they don’t follow social media (read blogs, interact on Twitter, etc.)?

It’s not just LinkedIn (as an aside, how many of your network still don’t have pictures on their profiles?). It’s Twitter. It’s Facebook.  We see people doing stupid things all the time, the same things which get endlessly pointed out in how-to and tips articles everywhere…on social media.

There’s an older communicator whom I know tangentially. She didn’t understand how to use Twitter, in spite of being on it, in spite of the many resources out there. When I pointed something out to her, something so obvious, she actually thanked me. She needed to learn. She needed to be taught. But the thing is that she didn’t know she needed to learn because she was (is) not social media savvy.

It’s like people who use caps lock in their email. They don’t know they are “shouting.”

What do you think? Can people become more social media savvy? How will they learn if they never seem to see the many resources out there? Do you share my frustration?




About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

2 thoughts on “Is social media savvy a learned skill?”

  1. I share your frustration! It’s appalling how many don’t bother to customize their LinkedIn invitation at all – even marketing pros!

    Take the five seconds to change that text, people! I will connect with them, but the ones that customize are the ones that I take time to engage with – assuming it isn’t a sales pitch.

  2. The mobile apps don’t allow customization. Once a socially or even business savvy networker learns this.. then yeah, customize. My latest set of LI ‘rules’ highlighted some of the responses I get when I take the time to follow up to these generic invites, to ask how we know each other and why we should connect (or friend on FB). I share your frustrations, esp. when I get those “I want to send you an ocean of love” requests (yes, on LinkedIn.. not kidding).

    You’re right – and the people who need to read these kind of tips and tricks posts don’t. Just because you can attach 34 pictures to one email that doesn’t mean you should; some people don’t know (or care) that there are more technically savvy and frankly, digitally courteous ways to share all those pictures. Like anything else, there’s a learning curve and we need to take the time to think about what we do – online and off. FWIW.

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