It’s hard to let go of preconceived notions. Some of us live cosily inside of our web of prejudices and pigeon holes that we have created for the world around us (consciously or not). Wouldn’t we all like to think this doesn’t apply to us? That somehow we are better, elevated, more sophisticated? Ironically, thinking that way creates it’s own host of problems where we can so easily fall into the trap of elitism. In reality so few of us possess the true gift of open mindedness. It is definitely something to aim for in the pursuit of personal, professional, and financial success.
I am not a linear thinker. This caused some trouble in my early education. I excelled musically, but I find reading music challenging even with years and years of practice. Forget math. Science worked for me because it was based in concepts, which given the opportunity to talk about I could go for hours. Ask me to put a physics equation to paper? FAIL! At first social media felt this way to me. Linear. I felt like I had to keep up, check in, follow what people were doing and the order they were doing it in. This was overwhelming for me. Scrolling through status updates, looking through entire albums my friends were posting, crafting witty, timely comments.
The amazing thing about any social networking interface is that you can choose how you interact with it. Once I woke up to this idea I suddenly started seeing my ‘connections’ in a whole different way. Instead of looking at status updates as something to read through, I started looking at them as conversation starters. I opened myself to what people were saying and how it related to my own experience. I became mindful of where I could learn from those I was connected to virtually. I started seeing my network more like this, instead of as list of friends.
This isn’t even touching on all of the other turn-offs associated with social media (which I will get into below). Stripping my preconceived ideas about facebook or twitter gave me the opportunity to step outside of my own experience of social media and gave rise to the ability to see what it means for other people. It took the act of signing in from ‘something I do’ to ‘something I choose to be a part of’. Maybe you can relate to that.
I am connected to the REAL world, I have no need to connect virtually
This may be true, that you are connected to the real world, but assuming that the virtual world isn’t real is a tremendous mistake. The modes though which we communicate be it touch, talk, or text are simply interfaces that facilitate connection. Our interactions online are founded in natural connection. This way of interacting wouldn’t exist without the humans moving behind it. If your concern is becoming a slave to the device or the software then the good news is you have control over that. It’s up to you how much time you spend using the virtual world as your interface. There’s also nothing to say that you can’t bring those interactions into the natural world. It’s amazing how many people I have have met to only find that we have been interacting online. They move from my online community and become part of something greater and I become a part of something greater for them.
I don’t have anything interesting to say
Everyone has a story. It’s interesting because it’s yours. You might not feel like you have something NEW to say, but that’s not relevant. Social Media isn’t just about sharing new ideas it’s about sharing ideas in general. Concurrently, the more you engage in the conversation, the more you will learn and ultimately the more interesting things you will have to say.
Social Media promotes gossip and bullying
Yes, there is a lot of this happening online and it’s atrocious. As a child who was ridiculed horribly, I can tell you that I’m glad social media wasn’t around when I was growing up. What’s shocking is that as an adult I have been witness and subject to gossip and bullying and for me it’s not happening online. Not only that, these acts aren’t limited to a social sphere, they happen in the work place just as often. People take these acts from the natural world and bring them online. To combat this, groups, organizations and people in general take the matter into their own hands. And they use social media to do it.
I am not popular enough, I won’t have any friends
This could find it’s way lumped with the issue above. Sometimes we let our insecurities get the best of us. Having friends or followers online isn’t exactly about popularity, (although this is how some people build their public presence) it’s about putting yourself out there. There are thousands of communities to connect with across the world. If you find something that speaks to you engage with it. Social media actually isn’t about how many people are following you (unless you are trying to spam, in which case that’s a whole different discussion). It’s about how many people YOU follow.
I am not interested in telling you why you SHOULD use social media, but I would like to let you know how you COULD be engaging with it. Getting over barriers we set for ourselves can be challenging as it can mean testing our limits. Moving beyond what’s comfortable for us. Social media is not the end all be all, but it is a powerful and useful tool if used properly and ultimately for good. If you are a business and still not engaging with your community via social media then you are just missing out. Period. If you are a young professional and out of work, you have no excuse to not be using what’s available to you to find a job. Or using social media to find a way to make your own job.
If you don’t want to be online that’s fine, but before you make that choice be sure to have all of the information. I would never accept my 5 year old saying he doesn’t like or need a food he hasn’t even tried. If you think you know something about social media and you haven’t tried it, I mean REALLY tried it, then you are ultimately missing out on something that could enhance your life, both personally and professionally.
Are you already using social media and feeling stuck about how to get the most out of it? Contact us, we can help!