I was a social media late-bloomer. I joined my first social media site after my graduate school roommate painstakingly created my Facebook account. I sat on the couch whining during the entire process! She even created the password (that I only changed after 4 years because I was supposedly hacked). At that time, I dreaded the idea of having another email account or way for people to reach me when I did not want to be reached. I remained hesitant even once the account was up and running but eventually I began to fool around with the system. Facebook grew on me, and shortly after, I paced myself on the social media bandwagon.
Currently I have a variety of social media accounts with big name tools and a few not-so-big name sites. The big accounts I am referring to are: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My smaller accounts are stepping-stones specifically for my fields of interest and they even include discussion boards and yahoo groups, to be more concise.
If you are managing a full-time job, multiple part-time jobs, family and friends, kids and relationships…. just about anything, it is important that you learn to manage social media so that it does not manage you. Be clear about your purpose. So many times I see people write about personal “drama” (and I do not mean acting), refer to people as “hoes and bitches”, and even quote well-known risqué music lyrics on their social site. These are not necessarily bad things if it aligns with the person you want to be known for. But, when it does not……..When you want to be known and respected as a professional manager or pre-school teacher, it is not in your best interest to have the majority of your statements on social media sound as if you ghost write for Eminem or The Game.
Make new friends and talk to them. It is great to connect with old friends, stay up to date with current ones, and get others excited about your new projects. But social media is most effectively used when you engage with new individuals. New connections allow you to spread your message and purpose AND more importantly learn about new opportunities. In my experience, Facebook has been a better tool (than LinkedIn or Twitter) for building meaningful relationships with new people on ideas, news, and events.Twitter has allowed me to learn about new tools and resources at a rapid speed, but lacks personal and deep connections. I have received referrals for SydneyMalcome, been exposed to more information than I could have thought to research on my
own, and found inspiration where least expected by opening the door to communicate with internet “strangers” on topics that are important to me. NEW is a great mindset to adapt while managing your social media.
Spend time on all of your social networks each day. You do not have to spend hours and hours reporting your whereabouts to the world or sharing what you plan to eat for lunch. Spending a minimum of 5-10 minutes daily, on each of your social media sources can help keep you breast of trends in your field, world events, and local opportunities. Making a few comments on each of your social media outlets also allows your friends/ followers/ connections to be happy for you and support what you have going on. If you never take a few minutes to say “congrats” and “hello” to others, you cannot expect others to do the same to you.
Look for something while being intentional. The stream of information all too accessible on social media and can be overwhelming and faulty . Specifically on LinkedIn, it is helpful to join various groups that support or relate to your areas of interest. It is beneficial to look at the happenings on LinkedIn so that you can stay up to date on best-practices, professional networking events, and even alumni events for your University. Again, you are able to be specific about what you are looking for and avoid being innundated by information that does not pertain to you.
Overall, social media can truly enhance your life, be drama free, and fun. Below is a link to an article that discusses how companies effectively use social media. If you are like me, you whole heartedly believe that YOU are an operation/ business and the information included will still apply to you.