December 9, 2010

The Essence of Social Media

Put On a Brave Face.

As the social web explodes so does our ability to publish our thoughts to a potential audience that may turn into new friends, clients, customers or just an exchange of ideas.

I have been blessed to connect with people from all over the world - which still blows my mind.

There are close to two billion of us online and through the magic of the Internet, we are able to connect along thought silos void of geographical limitations.

What Are Social Media?

Sure there is bots and spam, dead accounts and ones with very little activity, but that is no different than in real life. Think Pareto.

Websites aside, the most powerful social media remains meeting someone in person. The places we first connect are just the beginning. Cliche as it may be, but step away from the keyboard and get to know those other humans behind other keyboards.

Smile for the Camera.

There is an interesting ongoing discussion with several colleagues right now and it is about keeping the smile when you’re not feeling it.

Two of us are self-employed and always look to improve our business through more client work which includes networking and prospecting, one is currently unemployed, three are gainfully employed but want to do something else and two seemed to have found a balance between creative freedom and paying the bills. They don't all know each other and I have not met them all (yet) in real life.

We’re Different Yet the Same.

The main thread of the conversation is how to respectfully translate that the search is on without spamming people or bumming people out. No one wants to read constant bad news but there is a way to do it without sounding desperate.

I had coffee with a friend who is currently looking for full-time work and after half an hour of telling me all the consulting work they are doing I was left puzzled why they still feel lost. And that is the point, it is their journey not mine. I can only offer my thoughts while they help me with my trip through this thing called life.

Nice to Meet You.

This all points to one of the pillars of social media we don’t talk about in depth. Sure, we hear it’s all about relationships but what does that mean to you? Well, to me, it means I have gained the trust of people I would never have met otherwise. I can hash out ideas and offer guidance to their situation.

My parting comment to my “looking for the next opportunity” friend was for them to arm me with how to help them look for opportunities. It’s not enough that a full-time gig is the goal because that could mean a million things.

Numbers are Irrelevant

Next time we wonder about the power of social media,we can’t forget that the friend, follower, connection counter on our profiles means there are people connected to us - albeit marginally in many cases - and it is up to us to unearth the possibilities.

Try it if you haven't already. Pick five people in your network, send them a direct message and ask them for an offline chat. You will be surprised how many doors you can open. And if you want to contact me just to say hi - go for it!

Does that sound like a worthwhile exercise?

knealemann | email

image credit: danny portnoy
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