In the Backstage of Social Media Usage

Image by Rossco ( Image Focus Australia)

What has bothered me lately is the talk “which technologies to use in order to gain the ‘must’ layer of social media in our thing”, regardless if it is in the business sector or the educational sector. I believe in some cases this discussion to be pointless.

Like someone wise has once said, it’s the right questions that take you further.

So far before even pondering should we use Wikis in our business, the actual question should be:

How to turn our current environment and culture into something where these tools are able to support us efficiently?

Here’s 2 great videos with Cisco’s John Chambers to open up this statement. Enjoy and thanks for a certain friend for sharing these.

http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/293
http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/619

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Make Your Own Game

Now when businesses and the guys who used to shout “Geeks!” are warming up for the Social Web, there are plenty of people running around trying to figure out how to benefit from the current Web. Some try to find this out by listening to the experts [who may or may not know] and some try to figure the game by themselves – which may or may not work. So what’s the outcome going to be?

There are still people who think the social Web is something of a fad and nothing more than that. When you look the world currently around you, I understand it may be confusing, but clearly something is happening, something is bubbling underneath.

There are people asking how to live in this digitized amplification of reality? How to cope?

Maybe the reason people are so perplexed, is that they are waiting for some kind of rules to drop on their laps [there are of course books, but just reading them won’t do you any good] and then, just then, they can start to play. However that may just be too late.

There are no right answers for how to use Social Media for b2b, or to marketing [these as an example of “lately frequently heard”], but instead there are good ideas and options. As James Surowiecki says in his interesting book The Wisdom of the Crowds; Don’t just chase the expert. Think about your reasons and your goals, and know your own business, and most of all, know yourself.

You have to bend the Web to your own needs, play [remember, like when you were a kid?] and try things out what suits you, see what other people are doing. Don’t just toss everything “Me, Me, ME!” in there. Think about it for a second, how would you react if someone was just talking about themselves? Try to navigate using your social intelligence – and thus read more Daniel Goleman.

About the question, how to make your own game, I can just give you a hint: It’s not by playing by the old rules.

No Matter the Field, It’s About Having a Map

Yesterday I read a post Socialgraphics Help You To Understand Your Customers at http://www.web-strategist.com when it hit me: no matter what are your interests, it’s not that much about them but taking concern the laws of social media.

In a slideshow shared in his blog post, Jeremiah addresses to five aspects of social media; Watching, Sharing, Commenting, Producing and Curating. This division is OK with this post’s idea, I’ve seen different variations, so let’s stick with it for now.

What’s important to understand here, is that it doesn’t matter if you are trying to use social media for marketing, self-development, making business or trying to find a job, most likely thinking with these following terms gets you where you are trying to go.

I’ve included two different example situations where you could apply the use of social media: self-development and getting a job. This time let’s forget the marketing aside and concentrate to these.

So, let’s see how those two fit in the previous thinking:

Watching

Self-development: YouTube videos about your interests (for example Photoshop tutorials), Twitter updates (useful links, insights etc.) from people you’ve found interesting, reading blogs from your peers etc.

Getting a job: Search groups and go through them, for example LinkedIn Job Search or if your in the mobile business places like www.wirelessjobs.com could be a good place to scan through.

So basically what you are doing is seeing what the web can provide and leave to yourself.

Sharing

Self-development: Let’s say you wanted to develop your searching capabilities in the web and found Webdesignerdepot’s ” How to Find Anything Online: Become an Internet Research Expert” post and you know people in your network would appreciate knowing about this: you’ll post it to Twitter or Facebook.

Getting a job: What, if you’ve searched out jobs at LinkedIn and just happened to find a job description for Developer Programs Engineer at Google London [a real world example], but aren’t fit for it but know a friend who would be? Well, you hit the “Forward this job to a friend” link, right?

Also another thing  is that the information you share through different service also defines you. If a possible employer is enlightened enough [and living in the social media era] he can see what kind of content you are spreading on your Twitter account. If the content is very much related to the job description you are applying and she sees you are an active in discussions, how would you feel that affects to her view about you?

Sharing, is actually what many people do very automatically these days – and companies and newspapers and everybody else in the world –  and there can be more in-depth use for this. For example collaborating with some project with Google Docs. The downfall with open to all sharing is that it gets more complicated to find good content in the web, but there are ways for this too.

Commenting

Self-development: I’d urge to think if one could always give back if one has new information about learning things. This includes commenting to a blog that you found very helpful, or asking more questions from the blogger about the subject. Also discussion boards go under this.

Getting a job: Pretty much the same idea here, than in the previous sharing part. If you comment with your own name, it may sometimes rise in Google search. If you have left a positive trail behind you in your fields discussion boards or blogs, most likely it won’t be a bad thing.

Producing

Getting a job: Are you a photographer? How about setting up a Flickr account and posting your greatest shots collection there? You can even blog about the photos. If you are finding a steady photographer job after this, you have always a good place to show your material.

Self-development: If you are still that same photographer, how about sending you Flickr photos to one of the gazillion groups out there? Most likely someone will comment at least something, sometimes even asking with what settings you took it and how much you Photoshopped it.

Want to know how to take better picture? Find a picture you see is perfect and ask about. And remember to comment other peoples photos  too – it’s good to understand the concept of reciprocation.

Curating

Self-development: Start your own world of self-development like Henrik has done with The Positivity Blog.

Getting a job: Invest your time to a community that may become your job. Find one you’re passionate about  [maybe you already are there] and involve yourself more strongly. I’ve seen it happen, it may support you.

These are all of course just samples, the reality can be much deeper and complicated sometimes, but these could be a start. Once again, it’s about having a map and not going in blindfolded.