Not everything is a nail!
Tiffany Winman 12000065XB firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  dos twitter donts practice theory rant tools use prescriptive social-media
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Today, I read a humorous post titled, "Ten things you need to stop tweeting about." It's that time of year, and everyone is making top ten lists. However, I've read similar lists on this very topic all year. While I always enjoy a good laugh, it concerns me that folks often agree with these lists and then write their own blog entries or white papers espousing the soundness of the advice.
Basically, if we followed the advice in this post, we'd never be allowed to use Twitter to tease or inspire others, talk about our jobs related to social media, encourage/remind others to exercise or enjoy life by being a role model, network with a community of parents, or share the little things in life that amuse us. All of a sudden, Twitter becomes quite bland, uninteresting and entirely useless for a huge number of people. The beauty of Twitter is you follow and unfollow whom you want. No one is forcing you to read about what s/he ate that day. You're choosing to leave or stick with someone based on what and whom you value.
I see similar things happen when social media gurus or consultants come in and teach lay persons enough social media thinking and tactics to become "dangerous." The next thing you know, we're all on our soapboxes teaching the "true" way to use social media and adamantly arguing with others who violate any of the key principles we were originally taught.
I've always appreciated a sound background in theory because it allows you to understand rhetorical situations that call for a variety of different ways of thinking at different times based on different aims and discourse communities. If all you've been given is a hammer, then everything is a nail. Theory lets you change perspectives, tools, and views. And, if theory doesn't work, hey, there's always that age-old fallback plan....use common sense, people! ;)