You are here, reading this post and probably wondering what the big deal with social media is. You have come to the realization that ‘something’ is going on and you can’t quite get a hold on why it matters and why you should engage. You’ve heard all the terms like status update, tweet, Facebook, twitter, this and that. You’ve be told to join and still resist. You can’t imagine what you could offer others AND have no idea what anyone would want to share with you. Well, you are here now. Follow these three scenarios and see how social media can change your life. It’s very likely you have, or will, have these thoughts and now you will see with a new perspective.
There may be a time in your day when you want to share a conversation with a friend or family member. I can almost bet you pick up the phone and make a call. The phone rings a few times and voice mail picks up. You don’t leave a message because it wasn’t urgent and it’s not a big deal; you just wanted to say “hello”. With today’s sites you no longer need to directly connect to someone to ‘catch up’ with them. Utilizing social media sites, such as Facebook and Geni, can elevate your conversations to more than just a phone call. Once you connect to your family and friends on these networks you can interact with them on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. All you need to do is visit their ‘profile’ and leave a note that you want to speak soon about a thought you had or drop a new picture of the latest ‘news’. It’s a momentous step to bring you to the threshold and look into this realm. When you begin to interact you will find the good and the bad. We are all people, after all, and people can still be mean, hateful and scary. If privacy is a concern, you will be surprised at what has already been frontiered for you and your personal space. Most sites, like Facebook, make privacy very important and do so to let you know you are in control. It’s not a ‘must have’ gadget or a ‘win-it-all’ game, it’s a ‘why not’ adventure for your life and your choice to extend you personal network will change your perspective, if not your life.
In another scenario, you find yourself thinking about work as you are washing the dishes and you suddenly have a breakthrough moment and you want to communicate this idea to a colleague or client. If you are reaching for a pen and paper you are missing an opportunity. If you are reaching for the phone to call your colleagues, you are risking calling too late or could possibly miss them? Who knows? Your idea gets written down and you get lost in a busy night. In the close networked social sites like Twitter and Google Wave, your ideas are represented in short order fashion. You could ‘engage’ Sara with your idea and a ‘notification’ is sent to her. At her leisure, she responds enthusiastically, “Great idea! What about adding (fill in the blank)?” Now, using your social networking, you have collaborated in real time with your team and your goals and ideas are met with complete interaction and your mental capacity can be spent on thinking new ideas instead of ‘remembering’ to get with Sara in the morning about your idea.
It’s time… You are tired of your current situation and you want to test the waters and see what’s out there in the Job Market. You pull up an old, outdated document on your computer and begin typing in some new updates and removing irrelevant skills. Most of us cringe at the thought of cramming year’s worth of employment history into 1-2 pages of printed paper. I know I do. With the social networks expanding into all avenues of life, it is no mistake the ability to make connections between talent hungry businesses and remarkable employees by simply creating a profile about our work history can be advantageous. Human Resource departments are hiring ‘social savvy’ employees that seek sites like LinkedIn to find new talent. If you are not making yourself available and only represent yourself with a static 1-2 page document you are under selling your abilities. LinkedIn does one thing really well and that it allows you be visible to your respective workplace or future dream job. Sites like this make it easy for ‘credible’ CEOs to directly leave recommendations and you can join groups and connect with others in your field. You can extend this information beyond 1-2 pages and update it regularly. If any prospective employer wishes to know more, perhaps your extended work history, they can access to things they would typically not ask in a first or second interview.
Changing someone’s mind is never an easy task but my goal is not to change your mind. I merely want to ask you to view your life in a way where social media can provide value to you. If you could spend one moment more talking with your deployed loved one, then you should know it can happen. If you have a great idea and it’s leaping out of your chest and you must share with like minded people quickly, it can happen. The next time you feel life is holding you back from your passion, a project, a new job, your next big idea or even your own family then take the time to learn how to connect and engage the communities that exist. You never know, these communities may value your ideas and knowledge more than expected.