That Time I Got a Picture with Bill Nye and Realized the Truth Behind Social Media

Last month, I was fortunate enough to travel to Milwaukee for Higher Ed Web 2015, a web conference for higher ed professionals. While I learned a lot from the various presentations and speakers, I learned the most from a selfie that I posted on Facebook with Bill Nye, one of the keynote speakers.

Going into this conference, I was emphatically excited about hearing Bill Nye after feeling like I grew up with him as a hypothetical teacher from elementary to middle school. Many kids across the country have similar feelings towards Bill Nye as he made science and learning cool. While I knew this going into the conference, I had no idea the impact that Bill Nye had on my generation until I posted a selfie with him on Facebook.

I’m a fairly social person so I like to share big life events on Facebook. Graduating from college, going to grad school, starting a new job were all announced on Facebook with positive reactions and responses from Facebook friends. However, none of these posts compared to the reaction to the selfie with Bill Nye. After posting the photo, I was shocked to watch the photo reach 200+ likes within a day of posting. The aforementioned posts regarding graduating, grad school, and a new job collectively received fewer likes than the photo of me looking goofy with Bill Nye. 

What did this teach me about social media, you ask?
People who share content expect their followers and friends to engage with their content because clearly the content meant something to the “sharer”. However, people don’t always think about how social media posts may impact or affect their audiences on social. My posts about success in my personal life may have meant something to my close friends and family or friends on Facebook who have been through similar successes and share the emotions and feelings, but for the most part those posts are shameless self-promotions.

Why does this matter?

For those who only post on social media platforms to share into the void and don’t expect a response, this “revelation of sorts” doesn’t mean much. But, if you’re a company or professional trying to share and engage with audiences, it means a lot. Content that isn’t engaging or speaking the language of your followers or shameless self-promotion posts will never do as well as the posts that resonate and engage your audience in the way they want to be spoken to.

While at first I was somewhat offended by the number of likes on Bill Nye selfie post, I realized that my Facebook friends and followers appreciated the post because Bill Nye meant as much to them, as he did, and still does, to me.


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