Transitions, those edges around your social media accounts and jobs, can get messy and weird. Many people don’t plan for transitions. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t think about them! Here are some thoughts on the transitions that I’ve witnessed within social media.
When Friends Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil
This has happened to me a couple of times. One friend used to send me links to country-western songs every morning. We had never met. And it was quite sad. I never had the usual closure you get when someone you’ve met goes to that great tweetchat in the sky. There was no memorial service to attend. Just a message posted by his family that he had moved on. Talking to a mutual friend or writing about it (see below) may help to ease the pain.
When Looking for Another Position
You probably don’t want to check in on Foursquare when you’re out looking for another job. Also: ixNay on the acebookFay. That is, don’t make friends with your soon-to-be coworkers all over the place and start chatting with them before you even get to that cool new position. Here’s where the word S.E.C.R.E.T comes in: it’s ok to write their names on a Cootie catcher, but don’t get their name tattooed anywhere just yet.
When You Leave Social Media Accounts Behind
Naturally, the company where you worked owns all the accounts you created. Even if it was a lot of work, they own all digital assets unless you’ve made other arrangement. You may be able to maintain friendships with some of those you’ve met, though, if you reconnect with people through your new accounts, once you’ve left the old ones behind.
How to Say Good-Bye to Online Friends
Even a simple plan can really help when getting ready to leave. Yes, it’s difficult. Even if you’ve never met most of your followers in person, you can get attached when you spend all day online and share each other’s ideas. I really like this post about updating your title across all your social media all at once, from The Muse. After you’ve expressed your gratitude about all you’ve learned from your soon-to-be previous team, and let that news sink in for a few days, it’s time to make that announcement that you’re leaving.
For Any Occasion: Writing as Ritual
For me, since I’m a writer (or pretend to be one on T.V.), writing helps a lot. Writing a letter to someone saying good-bye, and stating what their friendship meant, helps to move through the emotions since there is no formal ritual. If there’s anger involved in your decision, writing helps there, too. Writing an angry letter that’s never sent, then rewriting it, helps to displace the anger. Did you know there’s a journaling tool called the unsent letter? Yup!
When Alliances Change
For those of us who freelance, gigs can change suddenly. A client might decide to go in another direction or retire. In any case, you may want to let others know what’s going on with you and that company if your friends have followed you on that journey. People aren’t always in sync with what you do, though. Don’t expect your friends to drop that company like a hot potato if they’ve taken a liking to the place you work.
The Internal Transition: Passing a Milestone
Do you celebrate when you pass a milestone? However phony the idea of a milestone is (especially if it’s a “vanity metric”), many milestones mean more engagement on social media. For instance, when you pass that 1,000 follower mark on Twitter, you will have more engagement, at least if you’re doing social right. If you’re freelancing for someone, you may decide to raise your prices if the number of engagements goes up dramatically. Here’s a piece I wrote about my 100th blog post, and what I learned.
When You Move a Community
When I ran a chat and moved it to a new chat, #DigiBlogChat, that took a bit of doing. That is to say, some moved with me and stayed on, and others were left behind. We all need and want more community, and having one online can help to replace those in-person ones we’ve lost along the way. #DigiBlogChat is the highlight of my week, and one where many of my virtual friends reside. By the way, here’s my crazy long list of Twitter Chats: 101 Tips For Success.
When Do You Train a Replacement
Hopefully, the company or startup where you work already has a set of guidelines in place. That said, there may be some words of wisdom that you could impart to your replacement if the parting of ways was amicable. In a perfect world, we’d all leave on good terms, but that isn’t always the case.
As far as saying the final farewell, it could be a good idea to let a trusted friend know what you’d like to do with your social media accounts when you go to that Facebook group in the sky. Some people even go so far as to write their final tweet while they still can. Have you done anything about this? For me, letting my lawyer know my final wishes was a great relief.