Ok, so I started this blog by putting a lame line from a lame song in your head… sorry about that, but stick with me and I will explain why.
I will be the first to put my hand up and say that I am no social media guru. I am learning all about this from the interactions and connections I make each day. Thankfully because I am just being ME in this online world, I am crossing paths with great people who I can learn from, work with and even enjoy new friendships.
My area of expertise is really more in design and communication online, and lets face it, social media is so new, that everyone is trying to work it out.
So I want to share with you what I have learnt so far. It may not be unique, it may not even be the first time someone has said any of this, but here goes…
I want you to picture this in your mind. A young 23 year old upstart with a pair of jeans, tshirt and sportscoat walks in to a room. First thing he notices… everyone else is in the standard grey/blue/black business suit. Their ties are as bad as their combovers. He sees someone he knows, walks over to say hello and the object of his targeted introduction into the world of business comes back with “how’s your dad?”
That was my very first networking experience. I went to a local chamber of commerce to meet ‘like minded’ business people and see how we could find opportunities to work together. I had entered the night with a goal of getting three new leads, I mean I was the hot new web developer in town and everyone needed my services if they wanted to succeed.
But after that initial interaction my goal was to get through dinner without spilling food on my shirt so I didn’t draw attention to the fact that I did not have a tie on…
People who know me now are not going to believe this, but, I am actually a naturally shy person. Being in that networking event was WAY out of my comfort zone at the time. I had two choices. I could try and be a hawker/canvasser and go around to each table sticking my face in and trying to get ‘IN’ with this crowd or I could sit back and say nothing at all, just listen.
That is what I chose to do, and when I did, a strange thing happened. I started hearing need. I heard a guy at my table saying he was having all sorts of trouble with his computer. Now that is not what I did, but I know a bit about computers so I figured I could help him. So at the end of the night, I went over to him, gave him my card and told him to give me a call, I can help him sort out his issue. I didn’t tell everyone “I AM GOING TO SOLVE THIS MANS ISSUE” I was helping because that is my nature, not as a strategy to become the helpful guy.
The next day I did fix his problem, and I got talking to him and we ad a good conversation. So I was just me, and I had made a new connection. By helping someone with something. Next thing I know, I am getting referred to his friends for what I really needed as a startup, new work opportunities. The next time I went to that event, I was invited in, but I still treated every event the same way and always have done at any networking event. I listen, meet new people, see if there is anyone i can connect together, see if I can help anyone. I never go with the intention of getting new business. But it is the by product of good human nature.
This is the way I am approaching twitter as well. I am finding people I can connect with, not for gain but for enrichment. My new friends on twitter mean the world to me. I am helping people all over the world if I can (like the lady from California a few weeks ago who was having a problem I had once on my mac, gave her the answer because I could, no charge/obligation/expectation to RT or FF).
Which brings me to the real reason I titled this post the way i did… My grandfather used to say to me if you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anything. A bit of a spin on the something nice, as he didn’t believe you always had to be nice…
However there seems to be an increasing number of people that think it is proper behavior to tweet nothing but How to get more followers, get more money than you dreamed of, blah blah blah. Well i don’t want followers, i want friends, and i can dream pretty big when it comes to money so your strategy to earn another $200 per month doing what you do does not excite me.
Imagine if these people acted this way in the real world at a networking event. It would sound like a turkish market with everyone trying to out yell each other to sell their trinkets and wares. Would you go to an event like that? i wouldn’t.
The succinct nature of twitter does not mean there is no consequence to tweeting crap if all you do is tweet crap. I don’t unfollow these people as it is forming part of my research. But for this medium to be a useful tool for small business, we all need to take responsibility with our voice. Imagine if the great leaders had chosen to say useless things to their audience. Having a large following is not useful if you have nothing to say.
Many people tweet quotes and other things, and that is fine, but introduce me to you also, don’t hide behind the words of someone else forever. Everyone has SOMETHING to share, and that something may not be interesting or useful to everyone, but it will be to someone.
So here are MY personal rules for MY twitter use. If anything i have said has had you nodding yes… feel free to adopt which ever you like.
- I will never, never, never tweet a “get more followers ask me how” kind of tweet.
- I will only tweet a quote if I find it very appropriate to a conversation, or with a reason why i like it
- I will try to help at least one person I don’t know each day
- I will try to catch up with one twitter friend IRL each week (as time permits… we are all busy tweeting after all)
- I will send personal thoughtful messages to as many new followers as I am able to each day.
This is an experiment in progress, so i do not know if this will have a commercial outcome, but that is not why I am doing this.
I am using social networking to build relationships, and that has been what has lead to every success I have had in life to this point.
The opportunities I get a direct result of the person that I am and the people that I have met.
So be yourself, get out there and share YOU with the world.