5 Takeaways From My Social Media Experiment

by vernsanders on July 27, 2012

I had the opportunity to “look back” to the beginnings of my social media experiment this week, and I’ve been thinking about it as a result. It was a little over 3 years ago that I was dragged kicking and screaming into social media (read the continuing saga if you wish by starting here), and, as Don Henley would say, I’ve “come so far, so fast…”

So it’s time for a list of things that are important/I wish I knew when I started…

  • In order to be social, you have to be social

It isn’t called social media for nothing. If you knew everybody in high school, or know everybody now, social media is a no-brainer. If you are not predisposed to be social, stick with texting and email for your close friends, because, eventually, social media is about gathering a crowd. If you choose to play, you will either be engaged all day long, or you may find it oppressive.

  • If you are serious, you have to be aggressive

I don’t mean this in an obnoxious way, but… As social media has matured, the rules have changed somewhat. Now it is more about celebrity in many cases. But if you want to influence the crowd, you have to have a crowd. And that means either being aggressive about assembling a crowd, or being aggressive in your interaction with your particular crowd. One tweet every week is not going to cut it if you are to have any influence. Being passive about accumulating friends and followers means you won’t have any (I tried this approach on one of my twitter accounts just out of curiosity. Although I promote it once in a blue moon, I only have 8 followers, which kind of defeats the purpose unless you are trying to create an intranet.).

I’ve never used the “pro” (read “pay”) services that can add a few hundred followers a day (this is harder to do on facebook), but I’ve been tempted. My next step is to begin targeted advertising, but I actually don’t think that is going to work either. It’s all an experiment to me at some level, so we’ll see…

  • The search for/supply of content is endless

I sometimes think social media was invented by people who have an insatiable curiosity. In order to feed the ever-widening maw of social media’s craving for new content, you have to spend most of the day surfing the internet to find it — be that a hot new unknown YouTube sensation (like this), or a new blogger (like this). If you want to play, you have to pay in time.

  • Everybody has a favorite means of communication, and social media just adds another layer

Social media adds to your communication demands rather than replaces or centralizes it. With the plethora of options, everybody has a different preferred method of communication, and you need an extra field in your contact list to remember whether that is text, phone, email, or social media.

  • You are who you are, and there are people who will like you

The long tail works in social media too. No matter who you are or what you like, there are people in social media who share your interests. Even if you have trouble talking to strangers, social media will expand your network, and that, if for no other reason, makes it worthwhile to consider.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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