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Be Who You Are In Life & In Social Media

Look closely!

What’s your social media personality?

Do you find it a CHORE to engage in social media?’
If you find the right social media match for your natural sharing inclinations, then it will begin to be a joy and not a ‘chore’.
I tell you this because it has been heavy on my mind & heart.  I met with a client recently who struggles with the idea of sharing  ANYTHING about her personal life. Chalk it up to privacy, paranoia, or that our mamas told us not to call attention to ourselves. However, this woman is BRILLIANT. She is fascinating DEEP WATERS. She finds Twitter, Faceobook and blogging to be ridiculous endeavors.
So I ask her “why do you want to participate in social media if you find it so inane?” Answer, “because I understand that I can get business there.”
I let her know that if she is not naturally a ‘sharer’, then this will not be enjoyable and that she’ll stop doing it rather quickly. This will feed her assertion that social media is useless, silly and a waste of her time.  Hmmmm….
I tell her this story: There’s an old story of a farmer who is sitting on a bucket milking a cow. His neighbor comes over and asks if he can borrow the farmer’s tractor.
The farmer says, “No.”
The neighbor, stunned, replies, “Why?”
“Because I’m making soup.”
“What? What does that have to do with the tractor?”
“It doesn’t matter – I don’t want you to use it, so any excuse will do.”

Any excuse will do when we are faced with something that we don’t want to do, even if it’s something that could genuinely be enriching, rewarding, fun and horizon-expanding.  If we don’t want to do it, we’ll find a way to STOP.
Before you start any social media venture from which you want a certain outcome, you really need to think deeply about it.  YES, by all means write down what your goals are and work toward them but be ever-mindful of the fact that these are people you’re dealing with on the other side of this connection, not a computer program that has predictable outcomes.  Think honestly:  are you pushing your agenda onto someone else?   How do you feel when this is done to you? Do you just see dollar signs on your clients / friends / family, or are you sincerely and genuinely interested in their daily lives?

We live in incredibly hard economic times and it is tempting to manipulate relationships into business instead of just having genuine conversations with people in day to day life that will naturally blossom into business down the road.   However, the worst smell in any social environment is desperation.   Relax.  Stop trying so hard to close the other guy and just ENJOY him.  The thing that is often overlooked by people who monetize social media is this: relationships grow when two people connect on a personal basis where trust exists.  We must first and foremost foster TRUST born of a genuine shared experience, friend, product, need, religion, belief or otherwise, and then go from there.  C.S. Lewis put it this way, that friendship is,  “born the moment you say to another person, ‘what?  You too? I thought I was the only one.'”.

Don’t cheapen the process.
Here is a quick primer for personality types and the social media outlet that might be best fit:
1. Twitter – You could liken Twitter to a giant ballroom where hundreds of conversations are going on, and you catch key words and phrases from each and decide whether or not you want to hover and learn more. It offers shallow initial engagement where you can scan quickly but delve deeper if you so choose to read more or ‘search’ for certain keywords. I’ve heard that this is sort of social media for people with ADHD, and yeah, that about sums it up. This is how we receive SO MUCH news these days. Rapid fire and then we filter out what is important to us.
2. Facebook – Great for serial sharers of photos, quotes, experiences, family and TMI (Too Much Information). Successful Facebook users report that they feel more connected to their friends because of their online engagement. Facebook is the BBQ where we are all having fun, re-connecting with friends from high school, seeing the pictures from our co-worker’s trip to Hawaii and sharing what we are listening to on Spotify. Sharing Sharing Sharing.
3. LinkedIn – This is a great place for the professional who wants to keep it professional. Everyone that reports for duty on LinkedIn is there for the same reason: business. It’s a haven for vetting out whom we will or will not work with and seeing their connections too. It’s your online resume and needs to be carefully groomed for maximum effect to attract clients and to let your sphere know more about YOU, but simply on a professional level.
4. Blogging – Are you a contemplative thinker? Do many things interest you? Are you interested in being perceived as a subject matter expert in your field? Do you enjoy email and answering complex questions? Are you simply a smart guy or gal with many years in a certain field that you wish people knew more about? Do you find yourself jotting down ideas or want to write a novel (someday) but the task seems sooooo daunting? Then blogging might be your venue.
Frankly, there are many more, but I’ll leave those forums for you to explore. I am on all 4 of the above outlets, and adore each one for its place in my life.  I am authentically myself on all of them, but to different audiences who care about different things in different amounts. As human beings, we are so wonderfully complex! How can you fit all of me onto a Facebook Profile page? I’m also more than the sum of my resume and the recommendations for my work on LinkedIn. I care about more things than I can ever Tweet. And ultimately there are more things I want to write about in this life than my blog on WordPress will ever see.
Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

At the end of our one-on-one, my client and I hugged and she felt released of a lot of pressure to be someone she is not.  At this time she is contemplating an inspired blog that will marry her many different interests and will point back to her profession at times.  I am also helping her craft a gorgous and thorough LinkedIn profile.  This is so she can be found online and showcase her depth of experience and showcase the many people who have recommended her through the years.   She is delighted,  and therefore so am I.

Please, don’t pretend to be someone you are not for anyone. Success will follow when you are authentically and unapologetically YOURSELF,  both in your life and online.

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One comment on “Be Who You Are In Life & In Social Media

  1. Well said! great explanation and direction!

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