Jumping In With Your Clothes On
February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
Social media. Everyone has very strong opinions on the topic. Regardless of your own opinion, it is certainly a powerful tool.
In the last year at the Empowerment Center, we have gotten a major education in the various uses of social media. We’re still learning – as is everyone else. But, we’ve seen the power it has to connect us to people who share our vision and want to be a part of it. Thanks to Mickey Gomez and the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County for the inspiration to get out there! Here’s some of the lessons we’ve learned!
First and foremost, just jump in! Try it. There’s something out there for everyone whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and of course the new hot one, Pintrest. Just know that you might have different purposes for various networks. Facebook may be for connecting with far flung family and friends where LinkedIn is more about connecting with others in your industry.
Electronic Cocktail Party
Initially my experiences with Twitter were uncomfortable as I was getting followers. That’s a lot of pressure knowing there are 25 people out there mildly curious in my thoughts in 140 characters or less. In the end, I just decided to treat it the same way I would a professional networking event or any other group setting where you never know who you’re going to meet.
Mercifully, if you do something that is less than effective or silly, remember, the half life for social media is quite short and most people will move on. Have fun. The point is to start a conversation, make some connections, create a voice for yourself that is heard by others with similar interests. If you’re having fun, the people in your network will have fun too. Keep your purpose and audience in mind.
Remember though the internet is not Vegas and whatever you put out there will stay out there. Use good judgment about what you put out there. Don’t publicize information that could be used to hack any accounts or guess passwords. Don’t tell people you’re going on vacation for three weeks to the Caribbean leaving your brand new 60” flat screen tv home unsupervised. Respect your family’s decision to not be included. Do I really have to point out that posting nude pictures of yourself is not a good idea? There’s a high school gym teacher in Maine who learned that painful lesson last week. Let’s hope his social media acumen is better as he’s looking for a new job.
Never Stop Learning
Avail yourself to the resources available to learning more about how to use social media effectively. There are many books, blogs, and articles about them. Ironically, you’ll find them on the sites you’re using! There’s a lot of great information for using LinkedIn for Job Searching or building a business on LinkedIn. Twitter abounds with many great bloggers and writers on Twitter and social media methods.
Sharing the Love
If you’re a supporter of a charity, fan them in the social media sphere. Most nonprofits have a presence on Facebook or Twitter (and if they don’t – what a great volunteer opportunity for you to flex your social media muscles!). You sharing your support to your network online is a valuable contribution to the organization and helps get their message out to a broader audience! You can start with the Empowerment Center! on Facebook on Twitter
Social media is a great tool to stay connected with family, friends, and work colleagues. It can help you advance your career or build your business. It can help causes get in front of people who can make a difference. Give it a try and jump in – just keep your clothes on.
If you want to learn more about LinkedIn as a career advancement tool, check out our Girl’s Night Out Series: On Linkedin? So What? Getting started using Social Media with Presenter Cindy Virtue on Thursday, March 8th from 6:30 -8:30 p.m. Registration available here.
Posted by: Heather Comstock