Sunday, 10 May 2015

Slaves to the Social Media page - the anonymous workforce

I run a few social media pages. I have my own Facebook page and media relating to my author role. For that, I have a Facebook page, a Twitter name and a Google+ page. In addition to those, I also act as the admin on another Facebook page relating to my paid job. That’s quite a bit of posting, commenting, monitoring and deleting on a weekly basis.

For a long while, I was the only administrator on my work page and the role was not valued in the slightest. I was asked to claim the page already created by Facebook, to prevent anyone else having inappropriate fun with it, but after a couple of years nobody seemed to remember that ‘urgent’ meeting or the name of that poor admin woman who came out with all the minuted action points.

I set up the page, added the photos and started communicating with the unknown people ‘out there’, giving them the kind of chat and banter I hoped they’d like. Thousands and thousands of ‘likes’ later and I’m still doing it - yeah, temporarily.

“Who the hell runs the Facebook page?” my boss will periodically yell, hearing some rumour about links to strip clubs or posts begging for money. He doesn’t have Facebook, doesn’t understand it and doesn’t want to; so people enjoy winding him up about what may or may not be on it. When he turns up at my office door periodically, we have the same conversation. “Do you run our Facebook page?”

“Yep, for the last four years.”

“Well, I was told there was this post about blah blah blah...”

“No, absolutely not. Who told you?”

“I don’t know. It’s just there.”

“Well, it isn’t. Would you like me to log on now so you can check? It might run a little slow as our internet is crap and I run it from home.”

“No, no. I don’t need to see. Just get it off.”

Then there’s the occasion when someone actually wants to post. Employees run around like headless chickens, pecking at the ground and searching for the unlucky worm who runs Facebook. When they find the poor hapless individual who scratched their head at the wrong moment and got landed with it, they rap out their orders. They want this thing posted and they want it now.

“What do you mean you’ll do it later from home? It’s your job isn’t it?”

Well actually, no it isn’t. It began as a favour and now it’s a damn great, time consuming nightmare. I spend snippets of my precious family time thinking of jolly things to post. I’ve had to get out of the bath before now as the notifications on my phone made it almost jump in there with me. That was an interesting evening of wiping death threats out of the ‘comments’ section of a photograph by some moron who couldn’t even spell the name of the gang he alleged was ‘coming to get us.’ Messages pop up day and night, demanding an answer immediately for something they forgot to check during business hours. I’m faceless, so they can abuse and threaten me, because it doesn’t count. I flick their urgent messages on to colleagues and try to rally the troops. Unfortunately they aren’t as vested in it as I am at midnight on a Saturday and don’t respond. Who gets yelled at in capital letters with an abundance of top line characters?


Social media is awesome and terrible. It’s awesome as a marketing tool and terrible for the person managing it.

I’ve overheard conversations at work in which someone higher up will beam at a client and say, “Oh yes. We’ve got a Facebook page.”

I can’t help listening in while the client admits to having ‘liked’ the page and comments on some random photo I put up there of a kitten wearing a tutu. They’re greeted by a blank look and then the resounding cry. “Who the hell runs that?”

I’ve run the page with the help of other admins once or twice. That’s ‘help’ in the loosest of terms. They change the cover photo and add a few posts and then go back to sleep. But in the staffroom they’re the leading authority on our Facebook page and what’s worse, when the message button shows red with some urgent enquiry, they can’t resist peeking. Obviously they don’t answer the messages. I mean come on! That would involve work out of hours and they might have to email or ring someone. The trouble is, the flashing red light goes out once they’ve peeked and I don’t see it either. So it doesn’t get answered and nor does the complaint or the one after. It’s me who cops the full brunt of the misery when I stumble over their next red flashing message icon and they’re thanking me for being useless.

Everyone wants to have social media attached to their business, but very few are willing to put their hand in their pocket to reward those poor suckers who actually provide the public face of their company. Surely that’s stupid with a capital ‘S’ as in STOOPID!

When every other aspect of their business is probably logged and audited, every role is catalogued and documented, they rely on a tired volunteer to present their professional face to the world.

I don’t always post kittens and I actually love the establishment I work for. I wouldn’t do anything to bring it into disrepute and for a while at least, will continue to point panic stricken patrons in the right direction at nine o’clock on a Friday night through Facebook messenger. That’s just the kinda girl I am.

But next time you message a page or post a comment, spare a thought for the person on the other end. Chances are, they won’t get paid for being there for you; they won’t receive any thanks from their employer/ organisation/ club or charity. Most people won’t even know their name.

We are the anonymous workforce.
What will the business world do when we no longer like our job title?

And we quit without notice. Possibly after posting something a little rude...