This time of year, you cannot be a functioning member of society and not be familiar with some adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and its infamous protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge.
A crotchety old miser, Scrooge is reminded on Christmas Eve of the importance of cherishing the people in his life and honoring the spirit of Christmas throughout the year by his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
Oh! And Tiny Tim.
A Christmas Carol was first published by Chapman & Hall in December of 1843. At the time it was considered a solid social statement against the rampant capitalism of Victorian Britain and greedy industrialists that were profiting at ridiculously high margins off the work of the lower classes.
While some things may remain the same, the times certainly have changed 170 years later. Recently, the biggest change to human relationships and interaction certainly lies in the power of social media and networking.
Which leaves one to wonder: How Would Ebenezer Scrooge DO Social Media?
Pre-Ghost: Bah! Humbug! The only reason Scrooge has a Facebook profile is to access the Facebook page for “Scrooge & Marley.” Well, he actually has Bob Cratchit update it, via a company Samsung with a cracked screen, which recently got him kicked off a flight back for Tiny Tim’s championship spelling bee. Really, Ebenezer just double checks what Cratchit is saying, to make sure he isn’t being too nice with the customers. Time is money, people!
Post-Ghost: Ebbe is on a friending spree. If he once knew you, currently knows you, or knows someone who might know you, then you are getting a friend request. He finds himself clicking over to his former fiancee’s profile sometimes, where she has photos of her 30th anniversary party with her current husband and pictures of her grandkids at the holidays. It breaks his heart a tiny bit, but at least she is happy.
Pre-Ghost: The Scrooge & Marley Twitter account is powered by Buffer and feeds all of their upcoming specials, news, and blog posts. In three years of tweets he has never once @ replied someone. He uses an evil Auto Direct Message responder as well. At least he is interacting. His marketing advisor told him this was important.
Post-Ghost: Scrooge doesn’t have time to do everything! So he hires Peter Cratchit to be his Twitter-second-in-command. They update their Twitter name to reflect the new company: Scrooge & Cratchit, and are known for sharing their OH inspirational #hustle and #blessed quotes from the counting house daily (tagged from either ES, BC or PC)
Pre-Ghost: Scrooge has 500+ connections, though he doesn’t know who 486 of them are. It is all about networking, and how he can use each and every degree to get one step closer to finalizing deals. He has never written a recommendation and refuses to give references for any prior colleagues or co-workers. Scrooge doesn’t look at his connections as people, but as mere avenues to business domination.
Post-Ghost: You got questions, Ebenezer Scrooge has answers. He is a frequenter of the business and investor threads and a LinkedIn Influencer, giving back to the community by sharing his knowledge and expertise with those in the beginning throes of their careers. After all, he was once a shy young lad with big dreams himself.
Pre-Ghost: Who are we kidding? Scrooge has no reason to be on YouTube Pre-Ghost. Not even a Double Rainbow song or Casey Neistat upload could melt this Grinchy cold heart.
Post-Ghost: Welcome to the inception of Scrooge TV! Ebenezer has started a web series in which he travels to some of the most impoverished areas of the world and infuses the economy with millions of gold coins from his counting house. He is often joined by besties Angelina Jolie and Leo.
Pre-Ghost: Scrooge likes to upload images of all the international currency that passes through his counting house. When he is alone at his penthouse he will turn down the lights, grab a glass of 40-year, aged Glenfiddich, and scroll through his money-grams on a 72″ plasma.
Post-Ghost: Scrooge recently added a new Instagram story of “Tiny Tim’s 4th Grade Graduation,” which featured Scrooge making twisted funny faces with his favorite little man in a crepe paper mortarboard. Bob later posted a picture of a red-faced Ebenezer getting an exuberant smooch from Mrs. Cratchit after he slid a note to her showing Tim’s LEAF college savings account balance.
Pre-Ghost: Ebenezer scoffs at a site dedicated to the whimsical fancies of women posting images of dishes they’ll never make and workouts they’ll never complete. He does appreciate the DIY pins, where people can scrounge around and resourcefully create things for their home, leaving them more money to spend with him.
Post-Ghost: Those funny Someecards that get pinned all day long? Yep. Those are from your friend Mr. Scrooge. He’s also managed to start three kitchen fires off recipes and dislocate his hip attempting the last at-home Crossfit challenge he found. No worries, he is recuperating by creating a new board to plan his next family trip with his nephew Fred.
Pre-Ghost: Why in the world would anyone, especially Ebenezer Scrooge, waste their precious time recording videos that just disappear within 24 hours? Is it going to make him any money?
Post-Ghost: The family is almost ready to stage an intervention – Scrooge cannot get enough of Snapchat filters. He puts flower crowns on money bags and puppy faces on coins, and vomits rainbows on a daily basis. It’s great that he finally wants to be a part of everyone’s lives, but just because the photos go away, it doesn’t mean he has to constantly send new ones!
What Would Scrooge Do?
Does the Ghost of Steve Jobs’ Past need to come visit your home, chained by the thousands of generations of his Apple iProducts, to remind you of the TRUE SPIRIT of social media?
Don’t be a Scrooge with your audience.
They aren’t there to simply build your platform. Give back, be personable, and share your ups & downs. You will not only find success, you’ll find the journey there is much more enjoyable.
How are you using your social networks?
A version of this post first appeared on Elisa’s Shattering Glass column on Forbes.com