In the fall of 2009, I interviewed four young, up and comers asking them for their thoughts on social media: what it meant to them, how they were using it (or not), what best practices they’d share or teach others, etc.
Fast-forward to 2011. I pinged all four as a pulse check to see how they were doing and asked them one simple but rather broad question: “What has social media done for you lately?”
In retrospect, the question sounds somewhat superfluous, trite. But the subconscious intent was to offer a big blank slate from which my friends can start sketching, etching, carving or even blasting out a response.
And as you’ll see, themes around like-mindedness and collaboration recur in their respective input. In reality, the question was merely a ruse. What I’m really asking them is, “how’ve ya been? what’s up? tell me your story..”
Power networking and local influence
Adrian is by nature a sociable dude; funny, at times wild and uninhibited with his tweets. But it’s this refreshing candour that propels him to extend and widen his reach among prospective audiences.
Check out what he has to say. The guy’s been busy:
Lately my use of Social Media has helped me to grow my network of peers and opened up opportunities to do public speaking. I was recently invited to speak at The Network Hub in Gastown Vancouver, which is a co-working office space for small business owners. On the third Thursday of every month around 200 small business owners and entrepreneurs come out to meetup with one another, I was invited to the November 18th (2010) event to speak* about SEO and Internet Marketing.
*You can watch that video here; I start speaking just after the 2 minute mark of the video.
I also have had the opportunity to speak at the British Columbia Institute of Technology** by a professor who wanted me to talk about SEO and Internet Marketing. We had a great time doing round table discussion and I answered a lot of touch questions about team building and staying motivated in the fast paced digital world.
Overall Social Media continues to provide a platform from which to engage with like-minded professionals and business owners. It allows me to digest and consume breaking news more efficiently then I would otherwise be able to do when reading news websites.
Over the past 2 years being heavily engaged in Twitter, I have developed decent influence here in Vancouver, this translates into a lot of invites and opportunities to speak and visit businesses. I look at this as a platform from which to continue to grow.
The permanence of self-evolution
In her response, Charlotte prefaces by saying, “I don’t like this question! Isn’t social media not supposed to be about what it can do for ME, but what I can offer to others? ;)”
Admittedly, I had not thought about this dimension to the question. And it’s so cool that Charlotte flagged this customer-focused perspective—a universal axiom, which is pretty much engrained in every decent marketer or entrepreneur.
Social Media has taught me so much; the importance of maintaining relationships, its permanence, its power.
It’s helped me grow as a person, step outside of my comfort level on many occasions, introduce me to many amazing people I now call friends, and teach me a lot about myself – my strengths and weaknesses. It has helped me further my career and allowed me to help many businesses exceed their goals.
That being said, it’s been busy since our last chat about social media. I’ve moved away from freelance and have started a full time position in a social media related capacity working with community building, marketing and promotion. Social Media got me there.
Social media is my life.
It has certainly become one of the more pervasive aspects of my life—in fact, the lives of many other people in the word. Think Iran, Egypt, WikiLeaks, Justin Bieber..okay maybe not the Biebs.
The enduring mantra of outreach
Grant took forever to—I mean, we all kind of took our time on this. And by the time I got my final input, I sat on posting this for weeks. Oh well.
While GD kinda skirted my question a bit (yes, you kinda did there G but that’s ok 😉 even though he didn’t specify “what SM has done for him lately”, he echoes the now all-too familiar sentiment of aggregated experiences and how the phenomenon has in effect been a boon to opening doors.
The sharing aspect of social media has created a norm where we are all more comfortable and open about sharing our personal preferences and interests.
We collaborate with like minded strangers and tell the world how much we love the latest episode of this season’s hit TV show. The aggregation of this information is creating opportunities for advertisers to go deeper than “age, sex, location” and speak to an audience that actually cares about your products and services.
What does that mean for me lately? A big boost in ROI.
A new communications paradigm worth its salt (or its paper clip)
The ‘paper clip’ reference is an inside joke between me and Rebecca. We never tire of it nor will we tire of cupcakes (an ancillary inside joke to paper clips).
Aanyway, Becky is a close, personal friend and respected colleague. And it cracked me up when she sent her response and entitled it “social schmedia”. Ah, the beauty of kid gloves and a sledgehammer.
A PR pro par excellence, Rebecca shares the following food for thought:
What has social media done for me lately? I don’t necessarily think social media has done more for me today than it did a year or two ago.
But I will say that I am more familiar with the various avenues and outlets to find and distribute information. And I feel that in terms of business, there are definitely savings in time and resources when it comes to connecting with another company or individual.
We don’t need to rely on snail mail anymore, nor do we have to spend time searching for businesses that suit our needs in the Yellow Pages. We can find everything we need to about a business or individual by simply logging onto Facebook, Twitter, Google or YouTube. The many connecting channels at our fingertips allow us to better hone into the best fit for any given project we may be undertaking.
But like anything, too much social media can detract from our productivity. I worry that our attention spans are too short to really focus the way we once did when there were no online distractions to the degree that they exist today. I want to be connected most of the time but there are also times I appreciate stepping away from the cyber world and connecting the old fashioned way, in person.
What about YOUR follows?
Because we all know the long-term value of our investment in social media, I am always curious how deep people are willing to go to consistently demonstrate genuine interest in members of their network/community/tribe.
How do you stay in touch with the people who supposedly contribute to characterizing your level of social media influence? Do you deserve the perceived power of your ‘guruness’?