The entire point of social media is to interact. You don’t have to be gregarious. I enjoy (with the requisite smirk) a good rant from time to time. I’ve even posted a good rant from time to time. But you have to function, that is you have to get in the mix, find your niche, and participate.
Sure, social is a fuzzy concept. When we add media, a means of communication, maybe it gets even fuzzier. So, the application of what it means to be social can vary depending on context and conditions. That’s what they tell me. I don’t know how you can be social without communicating. It seems like a lot of people are trying.
Social media interaction isn’t tough for me. I’m an ambivert―an extroverted introvert who exhibits qualities of both introversion and extroversion. All.the.time. I put myself out there, but I really do live in my head. Social media is perfect for me.
And it makes me a little weird. That’s what they tell me.
I have started doing a lot more weird stuff.
On Twitter: When someone follows me, I write them a little message. Thanks for following! I look forward to your tweets. The exchange of information and insights is always a pleasure. Please contact me if I can help in any way. And I add a little something specific to them, their blog or website that I do actually visit and read.
Every now and then I get a request to Keep the conversation going! And I know. It’s weird. Because I do.
I’d love to get more of those requests!
I started thanking people for retweeting and liking posts. Some people interact. They get it. Some don’t. Never understood that.
On Facebook: I thank people for replying to a post. On my freelancing page*, I even posted a Thank You to all of you who were kind enough to stop by, like my page, and otherwise say Hello. Why? Because you rock!
I always thank people for their comments on my status updates.
Why? Because I’m part of your network just like you’re part of mine. You kinda deserve a response. It’s just good manners.
On LinkedIn: Paul Castain of Castain Training Systems posted an awesome article recently on LinkedIn. Paul said the platform looks like a bunch of people wandering around mumbling to themselves!
And he’s right. Without interaction, social media is whacky self-talk. Paul asks, How many people actually take the time to respond to you? It’s a good question. Are we in the mix? Are we communicating? Or do we maintain a funky attitude that we’re going out of our way when we interact, respond, or say thank you?
Frankly, this stuff almost got me to abandon Twitter way back in 2011. I stayed because I started using it in new ways. I have continued to evolve how I use that tool.
With LinkedIn, it’s not just a matter of interaction. It’s one of perception. When people say, “Why should I be active on LinkedIn if I’m not looking for a new job?” they’re expressing a fixed mindset.
“I’m working and I have a great resume. I don’t need LinkedIn.” Fixed Mindset.
With a growth mindset, you can see social media in broader terms. I think I still have at least as much to learn as I have to offer on that platform.
My change in perspective, on social media in general and LinkedIn in particular, came about because of changes in my career trajectory. In no small measure, let me tell you.
When I came into contact with brand strategist Peter Economides and his global perspective, my attitude shifted again.
Peter is the kind of person who thinks in terms of how a situation relates to the rest of the world. When I came across Peter Economides, the Greek financial crisis had reached critical mass.
His attitude? Greece is awesome and we’re all connected in a lot of ways. He wanted to evolve branding and rebrand Greece. That’s global in a world that wants to be individual in the most fixed ways imaginable.
Talk about responding and interacting. But before I digress too far, it doesn’t need a grand a gesture.
A lack of participation, as Paul Castain points out, substantially diminishes the platform. The point of LinkedIn is to do business and people do business with those they know, like, and trust. How can you get to know, like, and build trust without interaction? You can’t.
Responding, interacting and showing kindness and civility matters. Because we’re human. We’re social. We want to stand out, collaborate, interact. I know I do and if I do there have to be millions of others who do as well. If I don’t know you we can’t get there and that’s ridiculous.
You know what isn’t ridiculous―being social on a social network. One of my problems was I first reacted to social media by going about it as though I was mingling in a crowd. Or maybe wading through a crowd.
The noise out there on the Internet became a way for me to not see the forest for the trees. Navigating social media should be about creating and strengthening relationships. We do this with other people on a one-to-one basis just like traditional networking.
And I don’t want to spread myself out too thin. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are my Big 3. Instagram and Pinterest are tempting. As time has gone by, they haven’t resonated with me. If they resonate with you, get on ‘em!
Then there’s LiveJournal, DeviantArt, Flickr, Snapchat, and more. Lots of choices. (Google + is a story for another day.)
The real choice is connecting with people not just connecting with the “right” platform. At first, the thing for me was to get to know Twitter or LinkedIn, but we’re there to get to know people. When I connect with someone, we have a real interest in getting to know one another. It’s been about like-mindedness.
Being random doesn’t work for the way I’m wired. The more I focus on personal and work specificity, the more selective I’ve become. And the more meaningful the connections have become, too.
Where are you in your journey with social media interaction? Are you a little lost in the forest? Are you giving and seeking opportunities to impart value? Have you spread yourself out too thin making responses and engagement difficult? Have you gotten to a point where you’re thinking about producing video or a podcast? I’d really like to know. Really.
Thanks so much for dropping by. If you’d like to interact and leave a comment, that would be awesome. Let’s keep the conversation going!