I Want to Know What You Had for Lunch

Molly Murphy

My, my, but we’re a serious bunch.

This post is inspired by a YouTube video that my Twitter buddy Geoff Livingston posted recently. The video is called “20 Silly Twitter Remarks” and if you want a good chuckle, take 3 minutes and watch it. As I was watching, two thoughts occurred to me. First, for someone who isn’t on Twitter, these comments would probably seem even more absurd. Second, for the people who said those things (no attribution was given, but a few were recognizable to me), one of two things will happen. Either they’ll laugh right along with everyone else, or they’ll freak out, and get all hot under the collar about the fact that someone’s poking fun at them. I hope it’s the former, I really do. But past history of posts such as this dictates that someone is bound to get their knickers in a twist. I hope I’m wrong. Kudos to Geoff for being so darn funny and entertaining on camera. I hope he does many more like this.

Business on the Sides, Party at the Back. Ahhh, the mullet - signature hairstyle of the average dude in the 70s and 80s. You had one. C’mon. Admit it. (I may have even had one for a while, but let’s not go there!) My theory as to why the mullet became popular was because it was deemed “acceptable” in the workplace. Companies didn’t want any long-haired hippies wandering around, so men started to chop the front of their hair short, to look more professional, but they left the back long to show that they still had a less serious, wild streak.

The ability to genuinely laugh at oneself is charming, endearing, and sexy. But I think that often, especially in the online world, we’re trying SO HARD to exude a certain type of “personal brand”, that we forget that it’s okay to be silly once in a while. It’s okay to poke fun at ourselves, and even sometimes at those we respect (as long as it’s not hurtful). Remember when you were a kid, and that girl or boy on the playground would tease you incessantly? You’d go home and cry to your Mom about it, and she’d say “Oh, that means he/she likes you!”. Most of the time, that’s true. If someone teases you, it’s often a show of respect and admiration. Take it as a compliment. Of course, then tease them right back, to show that you love them too!

So, sometimes, be a little less business, and a little more party. You’ll probably make some new friends, and for sure, you’ll have a lot more fun.

Nobody Cares What You’re Having For Lunch. Or do they? I had conversation with a colleague the other day about Twitter. He is still working on figuring Twitter out, understanding how it fits into his day-to-day life, and how it can benefit his business. He told me that he had some reservations about being too “personal” in the social space, but at the same time he wanted to ensure he wasn’t just being that guy pushing his links out and not interacting. He was a bit stumped as to what he was supposed to be talking about. I said “Tell ‘em what you had for lunch!” Naturally, he looked at me like I had three heads.

Lots of “social media experts” will tell you that you shouldn’t talk about what you had for lunch on Twitter, because nobody cares. You shouldn’t post pictures of your cats – you’ll look like that crazy cat lady. And you shouldn’t goof off – people will think you’re not working hard enough.

I guess I’m doing it wrong.

I tell people what I have for lunch. Not every day, but often. What’s that gotten me? Ideas for recipes, which is great because I love to cook. Connections and friendships with talented foodies from all over, like my friends Don and Jenn from FoodiePrints, which is great because I love to talk about food. And, I’m doing Weight Watchers, so it’s tapped me into a very supportive Twitter community and we’re helping each other meet our weight loss goals. All this, from telling people what I had for lunch.

I post pictures of my cats. Not every day, but often. What’s that gotten me? Well, I don’t have human children, so my pets are my kids. They are one of the most important parts of my life, just like your kids are. When they do something cute or funny, I want to share that with my friends, just like you want to share memories of your human kids. Lots of people seem to enjoy my pictures, and we have many fun conversations about it. My pet pictures have connected me to people who are now my clients. So I suppose I should thank my cats for being so darn cute, eh?

I goof off. One day, a couple of months back, I was taking a break from work (yes, I do that occasionally), and I was poking around on Twitter. I realized that I had 4997 followers. Now, before you start talking to me about how follower numbers aren’t important, blah dee blah – this is about FUN. I thought it would be fun to offer a special surprise for my 5000th follower, so I suggested that maybe I’d write a song. The campaign started, and while I waited for my 5000th follower to show up, I wrote this. When @MCouto finally did come along, I posted the song. People got a good laugh. Then I went on with my day. What did this get me? Well, a new buddy in @MCouto, A.K.A “Follower 5000″. And I’ve met others because I follow him. The pay off? Purely social. But purely fun.

Social media is not all business, all the time. It’s okay to use the forum to just have some fun. Share some snippets of your life, even if it’s the view out the window of the coffee shop, or off the end of the dock at your cottage. Goof off sometimes, tease the people you love a bit, or just send a hug to a friend having a bad day. You want to enhance your personal brand? Don’t try to “be” a persona. Just be you – the same you that you’d be if I was meeting you in person.

How are you going to have a little more fun online?

11 comments
Jim Gaudet
Jim Gaudet

Funny, I have learned to just be myself. On the 'net and with my clients or wherever I am. That makes my business - personalI am allergic to cats, so I would have to go for a dog... :~D

Bill Wren - Writelife
Bill Wren - Writelife

I love this post! These are a couple of themes I keep returning to. Regarding the second part (about lunch), I equate it to the snippets of conversation preceding, during, and after a meeting. The meeting is all business - except it isn't. There are always asides about what we hate, what we did on the weekend, some stupid reality show and so on. Twitter reflects how people interact in the real world; sometimes all business, sometimes not. A "lunch" tweet indicates a human being at the other end. It's just a matter of don't do it excessively. As for silly ... I had a post about "The lesson of Malvolio," the character from Twelfth Night. He is the butt of a joke because he takes himself too seriously. Personally, I'm aware I'm an idiot but that's fine; it keeps me entertained. And I'm not always stupid. :) And on the subject of silly ... One of my own favourite posts: Crotch - the tactile social network.

Susan Murphy
Susan Murphy

I think that's the perfect analogy, Bill. I often wonder why people look atthe social web so differently from the rest of their lives.Even things like calling everything offline "real life" sort of drive menuts - for me, it's all my real life - my online experiences andrelationships are just as authentic as my offline ones.And hey, I'll take silly any day. ;)Social media is not magic. It's just different.Thanks for stopping by!

Mare
Mare

Wow, love this. You've got me changing how I think about twitter and how I use it. Thanks! I do agree -- the folks who are "all business" on twitter bore me, and I unfollow them after too many links/tips/business posts. Yes, Mr. All Tech Biz, your first post was useful. Now you just look like a shameless self-promoter.

rebeccahappy
rebeccahappy

Isn't it funny how celebrity magazines by he thousands stalk people just to find out those little pieces of tidbits..and then we say not to let your human side show as it is not good business. I think we like to make up rules and then we get stuck. Zander says just remember rule number six!..don't take yourself too seriously and that for me translates into fun. It has to be fun. What is so great about your persona on any thing I have read online Sue is that you seem to come from the human place of just being yourself. Personally I think that is what makes you such a great community builder/teacher and friend to those that keep coming back to you for more.

Susan Murphy
Susan Murphy

Thank you Rebecca that's very kind! Those qualities are also things Iadmire in you. Cheers!

KatFrench
KatFrench

I should dig up my 18th wedding anniversary post, for the rockin' 80s spiral perm I was sporting in the photo...(didn't do the mullet, but boy did I ever perm the bejeezus out of my hair). Trying to portray an "image" via Twitter is so...stifling. I think we should all collectively admit it's kind of a goofy service--may as well be goofy on it from time to time.

Greg
Greg

Screw the "social media experts." As a layperson, if your business model relies on using sites like Twitter, Facebook et al and you're only concerned with your brand - stick to sites like LinkedIn.But,if you're truly interested in forming relationships, you should talk about the mundane things in your life. Hell, the rest of us are doing that. Open up a little, have fun, be yourself.

Treena Grevatt
Treena Grevatt

I should post a pic of my late 80's permed mullet! It was epic. I had a crush on Larry Mullen Jnr so decided that I needed a flat top, but I kept my waist length plait. Well, big hair came in so it was a natural step to perm it. Boy, did I ever think I was cool.As for a little fun online, bug me to blog my silliest running moment - it's much better than toenail losing stories.

Susan Murphy
Susan Murphy

OMG I totally had a permed mullet too. Curly on top, straight in the back.Hideous.I want to hear the silly running moment!!! Hurry!

krusk
krusk

Totally agree- actually I blogged a couple months back about tweeting about what you're eating--it's that personal element that lets you build real relationships with people.Also I'll add being able to laugh at your own mistakes: I used to be such a grammar stickler... but the short, quick nature of twitter means you (and everyone else) are going to make mistakes. There also seems to be this odd Murphy's law where if you make a silly mistake in a tweet it tends to get retweeted a million times...

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Food-Tweeter’s Manifesto Posted on July 21, 2010 by infophibian Whenever I end up talking with non-tweeters about why I love twitter (or why it might be a good tool for outreach to prospective students), somehow a variation of “I’m just not the kind of person who needs to share what I had for lunch” comes up. In the minds of the uninitiated, Twitter seems to be one big crowdsourced foodlog. Social media experts constantly tell us not to tweet what we eat. But a lot of us disagree. […]