A week-long break from the usual rut of predictable work weeks and IV-induced twittering is just what I needed for this post.Two heads are better than none
Last week, dear ole friends welcomed me into their homes like second family. And they expected me to go with the flow, relax and not get too stressed over planning and schedules.And then I started to talk about Twitter. Quickly eyes rolled, chuckling among the down-to-earth luddites, and everyone looked at me as if I had two heads.
Serene dusk. Napanee, Ontario June 2009. Nothing to do with this post.
Granted, my jolly peeps are a motley lot: from devout hockey parents, creative designers, real estate entrepreneurs to writers. I’ve always preferred diversity among a close circle, and despite the jokes and head-shaking over my bugged out social media diatribes, I was acutely aware of the interest, the genuine curiosity and the light-bulb-going-off look when they finally got a sense of what this Twitter thing was all about.
How’s that for an example of real-time, face-to-face social engagement?
Below are more random thoughts on the “social ying to the media yang” and vice-versa. I may have tweeted or read of these thoughts before; if so, I hope the reminder is helpful. And if not, well, lucky you.
Acknowledgment enhances the social vernacular
Indeed, when you are fully engaged in discussion with someone, you listen attentively, react accordingly, and provide body language cues that either fuel or abate the movement of interaction.
The online experience is no different. Barring tiresome, troublesome anonymous commentating trolls, the majority interacts with a back-and-forth motion that not only defines the context of the interaction, but also depicts the quality of engagement.
Think about it: re-tweeting (RT) someone’s tweet creates an initial level of mutual affirmation. Take that a step further with acknowledging the person(s) who RT’d your tweet and suddenly the effort means something more. It’s like saying, “wow, you cared about what I had to say/think. thanks!” So for those who don’t bother or think it’s lame to thank people, think again. That’s actually a perfect example of how you start to build strong bonds within your network.
Attribution is good journalistic practice
If you’ve ever written a paper or essay on a subject that required research and some form of citation from a source, you would typically annotate these references either as footnotes or on a bibliographic page.
I’ve started to pay close attention to how I tweet by making a concerted effort to see if the author of a given article, blog, etc. is on Twitter and then naming them after the URL. It just feels proper and professional, the way printed media would accredit sources. PLUS, I’ve gotten great follows as a result. Yes, people whose work you’ve attributed will actually take interest in following you. Common courtesy, really.
With all the debate over the accuracy, authenticity and overall professional lacuna of citizen journalism and crowdsourced factoids, attributing your tweets to a source would, in my mind, at least show some form of respect to that source (be it accurate or not): that it was not your own original thought/idea you are sharing. Does it matter if it’s accurate? Not really. But at least you’ve made it clear it’s not proprietary to you.
Transparency is a mode not a point of view
Social media has demonstrated the power of transparency. And by transparency, I mean the degree of open communication characteristic of frank dialogue, candid opinions, and plain honesty, which often act as kindling to a raging, bonfire discussion.
But I think people tend to forget common sense in favour of quickly indulging their unbridled emotional angst. Hence, the disastrous consequences that curtail people’s ability to widen their networks, secure jobs, advance careers, and sometimes completely lose credibility altogether.
Being transparent should not have to mean taking a blisteringly raw point of view, without careful attention to decorum and civility. Now these two words may seem contrived and pretentious, but would you rather conduct business (i.e., earn your keep and bring bread to the table) by callously spitting hellfire all over the internet to get your point across? Or would a tactful approach be more effective? Why not show how open you communicate, while keeping the pejorative aspects of your statements in check and opting for other offline venues to take your beef to a more traditional social setting like say tweet-ups, conferences and the like.
Social engagement is a best practice for business
It’s a point that hardly needs repeating. And while many frontline practitioners have already done the research, made appropriate assessments and started layering social media into their business mix, those unable to jumpstart their social mojo are likely in need of more practice.
While I think the principles behind social media practice are largely based on traditional models along with a good dose of common sense, it is most puzzling how so many articles and blogs (like this one) seem to keep repeating the same chants. Is it repetitive or is the act of repetition a genuine form of rehearsal or repetitive drilling-in-the-head, as it were, to hammer the point home?
To me (and probably others), Twitter is social media’s iconic face. And if its creators’ roots have any relation to the peace and love generation of the 60’s, then that bunch must be some kind of genius for designing a network conduit that leaves you no choice but to first discover sense and sensibility before you can take a step further.