Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life Is Not A One Way Tweet

I often joke that various social media tools can be a metaphor for life. This isn't because I think we are all social human beings therefore we should all naturally excel at social media. That would just be too easy. Also, that assumption is not true since I have encountered a few people who feel more comfortable online as opposed to offline.

Now this is a group of super social people.
Social media allows us to connect, no matter our connecting preference, be it chats on Twitter or networking events at a bar. Twitter (and social media in general), prove that the fundamental "like attracts like"  often rings true. We can follow other people with common interests, similar professions and hobbies as well. There are Twitter moms, there are entertainers, then we have hospitality and inspiring tweeps--the list goes on and on.

With "like attracts like" in mind, we choose to follow those that will provide us some sort of content, solution or story that WE are looking for. Yet I also believe that when you help your followers and other Twitter users online and offline, not only do you get rewarded, but you feel better too. Examples of rewards can range from an increase in traffic to your site or a follower that promotes you to their Twitter stream; even someone helping you to make a connection from their rolodex that will be of benefit to you. The feel good feelings are indicators that you are helping someone without the expectation of something in return.

So you see, life is not a one way tweet, on or offline. I recently thought of this after receiving an email from a friend seeking some help with social media. Here's a slight transcript of what we discussed:

Friend: I like Facebook and feel most comfortable with that medium, however, on a personal note, I have not utilized it a lot because I don't like the lack of privacy, but for business I see the how important it is! I signed up for Twitter, but same thing...who wants to follow me? I'm pretty boring ;-)

My response: Let me plant an interesting idea in your mind. When you go to a party, how do you make conversation? Who do you talk to? How do you get a conversation going? These may seem like trivial questions but this is what social media is--exchanging information and sharing.

When you think about it that way, it puts it into perspective how these tools should be used. Do you like the person at the party that only talks about themself (equate this to a "one way tweet--when companies ONLY tweet about their latest promotions/happenings) or do you like people who ask your opinion on things too?

I always try and give people this analogy to show how Twitter is just a stage; a medium. But the means to the message now includes participation. Customers have a say on what they like and dislike which, as I heard today in my panel, "gives brands time to quickly correct their path."

Hope this info helps! More to come. 

The more I thought about our correspondence, the more I realized that a lot of us online already get that "we don't need to share promotional material only.
" Buy MY product, get MY free webinar. We know that message gets tuned out very quickly.

However, what I did realize is that we could all use a few reminders regarding other ways that Twitter and life are not a one way tweet

1) Offer helpful advice. If you look at the hashtag #newbies, you'll come across individuals that are new to the stage. Be a good Twitizen, reach out and ask a newbie if they need help. To add to this, newbies aren't the only ones that are seeking feedback. Reach out to your friends and followers to see if they are stuck on something that could benefit from your expertise. One TwiTip a day and the online world will be a better place!
2) Online meet offline. Remember, you don't have to offer advice to someone that's already using social media. A lot of times, people hold back from using Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin because they feel as though they don't know how. Answer their questions, provide some resources or be their first follower! Encourage them to give it a shot and get going.
3) Thank and support those that help you.  As an example, I am participating in a blog challenge. The moderator, Ricardo Bueno, assigns us daily assignments to help us improve our blog. On top of that, he responds to all of our comments while working a full time job for Diverse Solutions, an Internet marketing company for real estate professionals. There are various ways I thank Ricardo--from a good old "thank you Tweet" to promoting our blog challenge #31dc. Online or offline-thank you goes along way especially if someone is helping you on their "off time."
4) No time offline to volunteer, no problem. I get it. We're all busy now a days and may not have time to get directly involved in our communities to volunteer. But social media can provide a simple solution to that. There are MANY non-profits and causes online that allow you to give back with just a few clicks. Here are are few: World Vision, Women for Women and charity: water. These support my interests, of course you can find those that fit your philanthropic goals too.

The moral of this story is:  Life is not a one way tweet and social media reminds me of that on a daily basis.

What are some tips that you utilize to ensure life is not a one way Tweet?

What are some of your Twitter success stories where you've helped out or contributed to the community only to have it come back and help you out?

Please do tell by adding a comment in the section below.

Lastly, are you stuck on something? Ready to take the Twitter plunge but don't know how? Let me know too via the comments section too. I am more than happy to help.

Signing off,

The Jaclyn of All Trades

1 comment:

  1. Jacylyn

    I love how you are humanizing the seemingly complex world of social media and opening our eyes to the simple idea of real communication when we are speaking online. To me it always means listening first and then allowing a response to happen.