Do You Connect or Communicate through Social Media?
How should you communicate through social media? You’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter; you have Instagram, about.me, and Pinterest accounts; you have the latest android phone or iPhone; and you always have your iPod or laptop fired up when you’re at home. You have four e-mail accounts: work, business, personal and personal-business. You can “stay connected” with the best of them. But “what” are you really connected to? Why do you find it so important to connect through all these various types of social media with these various devices. Here are some things to help you rethink what being “connected” is and isn’t all about:
1. Being connected isn’t about just accessing a social media environment. It’s about being connected to the human factor behind the media. Connected should mean that you are connected to people. You should strive to develop a bond, a link with individuals to improve your personal knowledge and skills. In reality your goal is to connect with people, not media.
2. Being connected isn’t a one way street. It isn’t about just sending tweets, or downloading and sending out pictures or interesting things that have happened to you. It should be about sharing ideas, understanding another person’s thoughts. It needs to be a two way street.
3. Sharing sterilized personal tidbits isn’t being connected. People want a story. Connecting is about sharing the details of your personal or business journey, allowing people to see the personal human factor behind the digital media facade. Being connected is about communicating. Communicating refers to developing a dialogue. It’s all about sharing on a meaningful level.
So what is being “connected”? To be connected in a meaningful way you should keep in mind the following four principles as you interact with social media and the internet.
1. Understand trends. Know where things are headed, especially as it relates to changes in your personal and business arena. Yes trends develop from the snippets of information that flood the web through social media; but you can’t look at them in a vacuum, you must try to connect the dots and think about what trends are developing and where existing trends are going. Dialogue through social media must maintain a relevant context. You stay relevant when you understand the trends.
2. Follow the people who direct change globally. Be aware of the movers and shakers who have a vision for change. What do they have planned? What are they talking about? Pick five of your favorite fortune 100 leaders and/or innovators and follow them. Think about what they have to say and how they are saying it.
3. Follow the people who direct change locally. Keep your friends, coworkers, and the people you do business with on a regular basis on your radar. Always be willing to listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to always agree with what they have to say, but keep an open mind. Take advantage of specific topic internet groups or regular in person meetings to stay in touch.
4. Be willing to communicate and share with others in a meaningful dialogue. Remember staying connected is a two way street. Always try to keep a dialogue open with those around you. People will be less likely to share information if they know that you don’t share.
You may want to stop using the word “connected” altogether. Instead think of what you are doing instead is “communicating” in the digital age. Your goal should be to work through the starkness of social media and find the faces, voices, and thoughts, the human factor behind the digital facade; only then can you add real substance to your social media interaction.