Abbie Gibson, Miss Northern Kentucky 2016 and Molly Kothlow, Miss Eastern Kentucky 2016 stop for a selfie. Photo: Jim Tincher
Social media has become both a curse and a blessing. It is a great way to stay connected with friends and family as we grow up and keeps us from growing apart. It has grown so much that many pageants now use social media as part of their competition. Social media is used in voting for fan favorites, platform promotion challenges, and even to pick a final contestant. For those of us that had Facebook when it was .edu addresses only and before privacy settings, we learned the hard way that not everything we posted was private.
Never will I forget my excitement to have a former Miss Arizona friend me on Facebook only to walk into the interview and see her sitting right there. I was instantly mortified and was wondering the entire interview if my Facebook revealed anything that didn't represent who I was. Unfortunately, there is a younger generation competing and using social media to promote their platforms, titles, views and opinions. However, us older girls are seeing an increasing amount of competitors using social media in the wrong way and instead of sounding like a queen, these girls end up sounding like a stereotypical "millennial."
Do Not Rant
Olivia uses social media positively and to share her year as Miss USA. Here she is on set with Adley Stump. Photo courtesy of the Miss USA Facebook page.
These days every emotion we feel is posted on social media. Whether it's happiness, sadness, anger or frustration, we take to social media to express our feelings. When we do this we aren't trying to warn anyone or celebrate with anyone, but rather looking for validation that yes, it's totally okay to feel these emotions. We live in a world where adults and kids alike are attached to their phones. So, rather than hashing out our feelings with those right in front of us, we seek the validation of the anonymous via hashtags and filters. It's easier to say what we really feel when we feel like there will be no backlash, or that we can just delete it. However, that is not the case. Someone can screen shot it, your director or a judge may see it, and a sponsor or potential sponsor may see it. So do yourself a favor and pause before you post.
Family and Friends
It is okay to disagree with a way a family member or friend chooses to live their life. However, instead of complaining about their decision on social media, discuss it with them in private or let it go. No one wants a friend like that, no one wants to confide in someone who would put their personal business out there for all the world to see, and no one can trust a titleholder who would lash out at those closest to them in such a public forum. School/Teachers If you are upset with your school or your teachers, talk to them. No one likes a complainer, especially one that doesn't take action about something that is bothering them. If you don't know how to address a situation, rather than ranting about it on social media, talk to friends and family. Rather than rant on social media, formulate a question such as, "I'm having an issue with a professor. They keep changing the dates on assignments and I don't know what to do. Do you have any suggestions?"
That tells them you actually want to solve the problem, not that you're looking for validation that that person is truly wrong in their behavior. Those of us who have been through similar situations will then reach out and tell you to go talk to the professor, and if they still do not see that they are supposed to stick to the syllabus, go talk to the department head. If that does nothing, then go to the dean of the school and work your way up the chain of command while still doing your best to keep up with the work. After all, no one said it would be easy, they just said that it would be worth it.
The same applies for work and bosses as it does school and teachers. Do not post what is going on, but you can word it vaguely enough to seek advice on how to handle a situation. If you're having issues with your shift manager, try talking to them. If that doesn't work or if you're not comfortable addressing it with them, then go to your general manager. You can even send an email to your shift manager and ask to talk to them or even write out the issue to them. They might not even be aware that there is a problem. Just explain in the email you weren't sure how to bring it up. Posting issues on social media will not go over well and it is seen by bosses as very petty and could lead to termination, or at the very least a poor recommendation for your next job.
I find it extremely petty when people post huge rants on social media regarding customer service issues that could have simply been handled by either A. Filling out a report on the company's website, B. Talking with the manager, or C. Planning in advance on their own part to avoid issues on the other end. If you've never worked customer service, it's hard to understand that customer service representatives have bad days, too. We try hard to not let it disrupt the level of service you deserve, but sometimes that doesn't happen. We're people, too. We're human and things get to us. If for some reason you were dissatisfied with the service, send an email to the company.
Try to get a hold of the local store first and then if nothing is done, contact corporate. Sometimes you have to go directly through corporate via the website and it will get back to the local store. You can even do this positively. I've sent emails to an airline regarding a baggage issue and confusing customer service at the counter but I have also emailed restaurants about how awesome their workers were. As much as we want to know what doesn't work, we also want to know what does. So no matter what, reach out to us directly and don't use the social media middle man. In the world of customer service, companies are a lot more responsive if you reach out directly to them because they aren't also trying to fuel a firestorm you created via social media. If your baggage was lost understand, it happens.
Were you at the airport in time to ensure the bag got on the flight? Airlines will usually do everything they can to help you get it back in a timely manner and they often offer incentives such as bringing it to you or offering a flight voucher. If you ordered something online, did you order it with enough time to ensure that it would get to you and you could make any alterations or exchanges? If not, you have no one to blame but yourself. You have to account for all situations. If you didn't, suck it up and accept it as a learning experience and don't take to social media to rant about the company for your failure to plan in advance.
With this being an election year, you need to watch what you say and how you say it. It is perfectly acceptable to have your own views and opinions when it comes to candidates and issues, however, just as you would in an answer to an onstage question or interview question, you need to express your views with poise and tact. Never outright say that you disagree or state that you disagree because of how you were raised or because of your religion. This reads as though you are unable to see beyond your upbringing and your church and does not read well as a titleholder who is supposed to represent a large number of people. Instead, don't voice your views at all on social media. However, if you feel as though you must, begin just as you would in a competition. Acknowledge the other side of the issue before expressing your own view. Read through your post multiple times before posting and make sure it won't be misunderstood or taken out of context.
Words of Wisdom
Pause before your post. Write it out in a Word document and go back to look at it later. Text a friend to hash it out before deciding if you should post it. If you still feel strongly and want to share your views, then post it online.
Remember, posting on social media is just like drinking instant coffee versus waiting on the real stuff. Instant works in a pinch but leaves a bitter taste, just as instant posting does. It's best to let your emotions steep and develop and work themselves out just like you would a rich cup of gourmet coffee. Then, allow it to cool down a bit so you don't burn your tongue and regret taking a sip. You can discuss it further now that you're calm and thinking rationally or just kick back and move on with your day. Best of luck, and remember to always think like the queen that you are.
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