Social Media Abandonment

Most people involved with social media, even casual users, have likely come across an account that’s been inactive for weeks, months or even years.  I’m sure they were originally created with the best of intentions yet for one or more reasons, they’ve been abandoned or forgotten about.

For some, the account may have been abandoned because the goal was attained (perhaps he used social media to increase visibility with his job search and was hired).  For others, maintaining the account was possibly a sacrifice that was made due to time constraints.  Maybe others didn’t meet their objectives and decided to discontinue their social media efforts because it failed in their eyes.

There are a few problems abandoned accounts can cause the active user.  The first is having to determine whether or not an account you’re initially interested in following is active.  It’s an unfortunate part of the process.  Another is that some abandoned accounts have coveted user names.  Freeing coveted-yet-abandoned user names could be beneficial for marketing purposes (professional and/or personal).  Lastly there’s the image problem abandoned accounts create, but that’s a problem they’ve brought upon themselves. 

In the world of social media, what do you think can be done to clean up abandoned accounts?  Should accounts that have been inactive for a lengthy period of time be suspended or deleted in an effort to “protect” active accounts and improve the experience for active users?

But what if the account was abandoned for a more serious reason?  I read an article this past weekend which described a grieving mother whose son died in a motorcycle accident.  She wished to access his Facebook site in hopes of interacting with his friends to keep his memory alive.  The article raised a great question as to whether or not your digital footprint can be considered part of your estate.  I’ll be honest – I’ve never thought about what would happen to my social media sites and email accounts if something tragic should happen to me.

What are your thoughts on abandoned accounts?  Do you have a different opinion when the cause of abandonment is one of neglect versus one of tragedy?

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7 thoughts on “Social Media Abandonment

  1. I think inactive accounts should have a universal rule… i.e. an email after 180 days “do you still want your account?” Only because they are selling advertising. For example if there are say 30 million twitter accounts (which I neglect simply due to time) but only 10 million are active you would want to know that to buy ads. TV, radio and newspapers are far more accountable for providing audience reach. Although I am a big fan of pay per click. If it doesnt reach my target I dont pay.

  2. One of my pet peeves is finding multiple LinkedIn accounts for people. What happens is people usually accept an invite to open their first account and then likely do nothing with it Months later they decide to set one up and don’t realize they already have one. I believe LinkedIn has a feature that lets you combine those older “abandoned” accounts so you don’t lose your connections.

    I read the same article you did about the grieving mother and thought it opened a lot of questions. We had friend/old co-worker die last year and it was tough getting on Facebook or LinkedIn and having her face pop up.

  3. Pingback: Learning With Perspective | Arthur Catalanello Consulting

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