Avoid Losing Friends and Followers: Think “Birds” before You Post
It’s inescapable. Our personalities affect everything we do – from interacting with friends, family, and co-workers – to posting on social media. As anyone who regularly scrolls through a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn feed knows, opinions clash and emotions flare just as readily online as in face-to-face communications.
In this era of hyper-connectivity, what can we do to improve our personal online communication skills for a more productive and enjoyable social media experience?
A good place to start is first knowing what type of bird you are based on the DISC styles.
Each of us, in varying degrees, is a combination of all four styles, or types of birds, as Merrick Rosenberg describes in his book, The Chameleon. There is the dominant Eagle, the interactive Parrot, the supportive Dove, and the conscientious Owl. These bird styles are apparent in what someone posts to social media.
Direct and driven Eagles are results-oriented and this is no different on social media. They tend to post accomplishments and achievements, mostly their own, but sometimes those of their significant others and children.
Parrots, enthusiastic and outgoing, are uber-posters, who post a lot, often chronicling the events of their day. Their lives are open books, as they freely share the good, bad, and the ugly.
Helpful and harmonious, Doves post less about themselves and more about those around them. They respond to others’ posts with empathy for problems people are facing and positive wishes for the good things that others are experiencing in their lives. Afraid of damaging relationships, doves refrain from expressing their true feelings if they have an opposing view.
Logical and detail-oriented Owls, are the least likely to post anything personal, opting instead to share interesting articles or news stories they think others will find valuable.
Recognize yourself or someone you know in any of the above? Do any of the four personality/posting styles evoke feelings of annoyance or amusement? Do you share some people’s posts more than others? Or perhaps you unfriended someone because their posts do not resonate with you?
Here’s a scenario to further illustrate how the four personality styles would respond to the same Facebook post. Consider this situation: A friend shares that her car was stolen during a night out on the town while celebrating her birthday.
- An Eagle may respond by providing the next steps. “If you haven’t called the police, do that right away and file a police report. Call your insurance company and arrange for a rental car.” The Eagle makes no attempt to empathize with the victim, but rather focuses on next steps.
- A Parrot will look on the bright side and may even use humor to deflect the stress of the situation. And why not? To Parrots, “This is an opportunity to upgrade and get a new car! Think of it as a birthday present to yourself!” While this is certainly a “glass half-full” way to respond, it can come off as glib. Having one’s car stolen is a major inconvenience, usually disruptive to person’s way of making a living, and most likely an added financial burden to boot.
- A Dove, ever-concerned about offending others, will validate the victim’s emotions and honor their emotional state. The Dove may say, “I’m so sorry this happened to you. You must be so upset.” While offering emotional support, the Dove does not provide recommendations for how to handle the situation.
- The logical and conscientious Owl, will respond by providing a link to an article of current auto theft statistics. They may offer a point-by-point check list on how best to protect oneself from future auto-theft. They may also ask lots of questions to better understand the events that transpired. “Where did you park your car? What time was it when it was stolen? What did the police say?” The Owl may help to uncover the details, but may not validate the emotion of the victim.
Again, recognize yourself or anyone else in the above?
Everyone has their own approach to life and handles problems in their own way. Once you recognize their personality style, you can better connect and avoid conflicts by reflecting someone’s style back to them. In other words, be The Chameleon.
An Eagle posts about a problem, avoid syrupy sentiments and offer suggestions for a solution.
A Dove’s uncle passes away, lend a sympathetic ear and offer encouragement.
A Parrot shares lots of pictures from a recent vacation, convey how excited you are that they had that experience.
An Owl forwards a useful article, thank them for doing so.
Remember, everyone has their own particular style and your friends aren’t deliberately trying to offend or upset you.