I’ve discovered in my social media experience there truly is a sense of camaraderie amongst the majority of users! Chances are if you are bold enough to seek assistance with a particular issue/question you will receive a quality response from at least one person, usually many. That is spectacular!
Like most other things in life, the energy and passion you invest into your own Social Media (SM) network will determine the value of your experience! In an online community an individual influences his/her own experience by making choices, conscious or sub-conscious, regarding the honesty, tone and direction of communications with other users. Most SM experts recommend transparency as the most effective choice for communications.
Usually, a person’s core values and morals will influence their interactions. Of course that is not always the case, as some users view online social media as an opportunity to play out their fantasies and engage in experimental behavior. This is particularly true in places like Second Life (SL), (http://www.secondlife.com) a virtual world where a person designs an online version of themselves, called an “avitar.” In SL an avitar may embody both real and unreal physical characteristics, including gender choice and human/non human appearance. Users have the choice to communicate in whatever context they wish and their behavior is only governed by the SL terms of service. (TOS)
SM is sort of the “Wild West” of business communications, as it is a relatively unrestricted communication forum with many avenues still to be explored. That is both exciting and dangerous. In my SM experience I have learned some lessons over time and here are a few high points:
- Golden Rule — Treat other people the way you wish to be treated. There probably is no greater truth in this world …!
- Visibility — Expect that whatever you say or do in a social media application may be seen by anyone and everyone. This includes employers, prospective employers, customers, spouses, significant others, pastors, family, etc.
- Do Not Self Promote — Don’t make your communications an infomercial for your company or products. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by many users.. instead be helpful to people and request their help, when needed. Build relationships… the business opportunities and recognition will follow!
- Make It Personal — Show fellow users tidbits of who you are through your communications and actions. People are drawn to other interesting people …. it makes them feel real and it opens the door to finding commonality!
I do not have all the “right answers” as to what constitutes the proper way to engage social media but hopefully this article has been helpful to you in making decisions on how to integrate it into your life.
Have a wonderful day and happy networking!!