Social Media Takes Being Social to Work

Social media is all about sharing, and of course, about conversation. We share ideas, information and tools with like-minded individuals to engage in these conversations. But what are we talking about?

Once you enter an online society, you enter a global environment, where you can choose your own level of participation. You can sit back and observe or be proactive and speak your mind. You’re the fly-on-the-wall or the guy-with-the-lampshade-on-his-head, or anywhere in between. You can be the life of the party, sure, but who is there to enjoy it?lifeoftheparty

I consider myself a very social person. I love to talk to people, to find out what makes them tick, to share stories and ideas, and mostly to learn about new things in areas that interest me. Social media is just one of the many things that interests me, but it seems like the more involved I become in the world of social media, the more the conversation becomes about itself. We’re running the risk of just talking to hear ourselves talk, and it’s the rest of the world we need to talk to. Social media takes you being social in order to work.

Here’s an interesting post on Webernetting about how Social Networking isn’t social, and it isn’t networking:

Sitting in front of a computer screen writing 140 character messages on Twitter or commenting on a blog or tagging photos on Facebook doesn’t feel like networking to me – and honestly, it doesn’t feel very social either. Having a beer with friends and colleagues = social. Talking shop with someone I just met at a reception = networking.

While this might be a general sentiment, author Tim Bourquin makes a good point. The “social” aspect of the conversation is limited by our lack of real interaction. If we can’t have those experiences in the world, what are we wasting our time talking about? Tools to make talking to one another online easier? Are you spending more time reading blogs about being productive, or are you actually being productive?

Being social is more than standing in a room and telling everyone what you are doing, it’s about being spontaneous and engaging. Some might argue that there’s no time for social media anyway. Conversations rarely take place over several hours or days, and it is due to spontaneity that we can move conversations forward. It’s up to us to remain social and integrate that aspect into our online lives. Though our reasons for using social media are self-serving, it doesn’t mean our use of them should be.

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