Many people miss the point of social media because they’re focused on the word “social”. They think social means fun or frivolous. I regularly hear comments like, “I don’t care what people eat for breakfast or that they’re shopping” as a reason not to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account.
That’s not what “social” means in the context of social media. It means community, a sense of belonging.
I belong to a fabulous Twitter community that allows me to talk about subjects that interest me: human resources, green tips, food and wine, iPhone apps, etc. I also belong to a Facebook community where I chat with HR Pro’s, fellow consultants, and other women business owners.
Now, you might be thinking all this social media stuff is just idle chit chat…and in some cases, you’d be right. But, it’s valuable. Let me explain. When you go to work, don’t you engage a little bit of small talk throughout the day? Same goes if you visit a client office? And, what’s that small talk about…the latest iPhone app you downloaded or the new Starbucks beverage you tried? Maybe a TV show or a sports game you watched last night?
Why am I bringing this up? Well, because with the global reach available through social media, it’s easy to forget that community also extends to the actual community we live in.
There’s a beauty in social media that allows me to connect with people all over the world and never leave my office. But there’s a power in social media that offers me the chance to build relationships locally that will strengthen when we see each other in person. A great example is the wonderful rapport I’ve built online with my hometown (South Florida) newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel.
That’s the point. I can chat with someone online and, when I see them in person, we immediately pick up the convo where we left off…
With the Sun-Sentinel, I follow their Twitter updates to stay on top of breaking news in my community. They’ve been very kind to include me in their local Twitters list. So, when Seth at the Sun-Sentinel contacted me about featuring HR Bartender in their online news, I was honored. This is a relationship that might never have happened if I wasn’t active in social media, I wasn’t supportive of my community, and the Sun-Sentinel didn’t understand the need for a print newspaper to get involved in social media.
A big thanks to Seth and everyone at the Sun-Sentinel. I look forward to seeing you at the next South Florida Tweet-up. Cheers!0