Wu wei and Social Media
August 13, 2014
August 13, 2014
There’s something about social media that compels avid users to bring up Eastern beliefs when approaching it. From Mark W. Schaefer’s seminal The Tao of Twitter to Confucian examinations of social media, it seems we’re all looking for a little extra wisdom when it comes to our approach to engaging customers and clients online.
It’s been a while since my freshman year course on Eastern religion, but one aspect of Taoism that’s hard for me to master is wu wei, or non-action or non-doing. The drumbeat is constant in the social media world. Engage! Publish content as frequently as possible! Retweet! Promote! Respond! DO SOMETHING!
Sometimes, it’s best to do nothing. Some examples:
Complaints you can’t address: Social media should be a place your customers or clients can ask for help or register a complaint. But what if a user complains about a service outage once it’s been rectified? Still Tweeting negatively after a bad customer service experience even when you’ve done your best to make it right? It may be time to let it go.
Memes you didn’t create: Ideally, you want your followers to be so passionate about your organization or brand that they come up with their own creative ways to reflect its values and mission. Don’t, as the saying goes, try to make fetch happen by pumping it up too much. Repost some of the cleverest examples, share your own if it’s appropriate, then let the magic happen organically.
When a conversation’s not about you: When you post content, you want to see it spark a larger conversation. But sometimes, it moves away from you and your brand. Two Twitter followers hashing it out over a policy point you’re not engaged on, but are still tagging you? Don’t feel compelled to answer or chime in. Monitor the situation to see if you can add something, but it’s OK to let it go.
Wu wei isn’t easy, especially in the 24/7 world of social media. But try to use the principle on occasion and see if it ultimately strengthens your social media presence.