I think I get it!
Social networking is good for business!
Yes, I was told that a year ago and I’ve been aware of it to a certain level since then, but today I managed to GET it!
Last year at this time, I was working for a firm in New Brunswick and we had been invited to an event known as a “Tweet Up” where users of Twitter gather and meet up. In discussion with Carter McLaughlin and Tim Scammell, I learned that such networks as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc are all about building relationships.
OK, that’s a stumper. What does that mean exactly? I have trouble with some relationships face-to-face, so what can Social Media offer me?
Well, to start with, there’s the safety of not being in a room with somebody. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes being in direct contact with others makes me feel awkward, insecure, or intimidated. (especially if it’s someone I look up to) Connecting by means of Social Networking Media keeps a level of separation in place where intimidation and awkwardness don’t (or can’t) exist. That allows me to speak (write) more freely and review what I say before I send it out to the other person.
But I discovered something else... It’s not about me! And in recognizing that, it became a benefit to me!
“How does that work,” you may ask...
OK, here’s how it happened for me. I follow people I know on Twitter, and also strangers (as in I haven’t met them) who do things I am interested in such as drumming, cycling, self-empowerment etc. In the process of that, someone I follow mentioned a podcast he had heard and included a link to it. I clicked on the link, dug the ‘cast, and subscribed. Once I became a subscriber, I downloaded other ‘casts and began listening... and learning.
This particular podcast is very diverse and covers many topics, often several per episode. Sometimes it is a short passage of only a few seconds that answers a question I’ve been asking for years. Other times, there is a secret that no one else knows, and this is where the learning begins for me. I learn something that can be used to my advantage in making me a better drummer.
True Social Networking would dictate that I would share this information and allow everyone to develop this skill and we would all have it at our disposal to use at will. There has however, been a long history of “Knowledge is power,” where knowing something others don’t is the same as having an “upper hand.”
Gone are those days of keeping information to ourselves in order to maintain power and control... Today, it’s all about sharing everything we know with the understanding that we will use that knowledge differently anyway, because we are all individuals with individual approaches to everything.
Another way it has worked to my advantage is financially. Again, because I follow someone on Twitter, I got connected with someone else who offered me a part-time PR position of sorts. This is a paid position and it’s not only in an area where I apparently have some expertise, but it’s also something I really enjoy doing!
Social networking has other advantages as well. I have several friends who no longer live here. Through the cyber-magic of social media, I can stay in touch immediately. Through them, I have met others of similar interests and together, we have great (albeit short) conversations about our favourite activities. Not only can I learn more about the things that bring me money, but also the things I do to unwind and enjoy life. I’m learning about far and distant lands I will likely never see, and my circle of “friends” is growing ever larger.
Heck, not long ago I was exchanging witticisms with Prince’s former drummer Sheila E!