About social media – a different kind of post

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Some of you may or may not know that I work “in social media”. My current job is working for a large company looking after their social media strategy and presence. I’ve had reason in the last few weeks to think about exactly what all this means and it has got me thinking about what it is that social media means to me, and why I love it.

There are posts and discussions all around the web talking about working in social media. Over on the Social Penguin blog, Mike has made it clear what he thinks about people who call themselves “experts” or “guru’s” *shudder*.  And if I’m honest, I have to agree.  I’ve been introduced by my colleagues as an expert before (though secretly I think I prefer the title “The Queen of Social”!) and it always makes me shrink.  I mean, how do you live up to that?

We are working in an area of (in my case) marketing that is so new, even now, that I don’t think anyone can really be an expert.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m not good at my job, I am. What I’m saying is there is still so much to learn, and it’s not as if once you think you’ve learnt everything thats it, the world of social media is just growing and changing at a rapid rate.

For example, this week, facebook announced they have a billion active users every month! A billion! That just sounds like a made up number to me. But of course, the key here isn’t the number so much as the fact these people are actively going to facebook again and again, they don’t just have accounts and leave it at that (hello google plus).  It is really hard to escape facebook in every day life now, connecting with friends, events, invites, this is all done through this one portal now, and a large number of people can access it from anywhere, smartphone usage is now huge.  I can’t imagine being without mine.

But facebook doesn’t equal social media.  Facebook is one tool, one site and yes it is the biggest in the western world, but working in social media doesn’t mean spending all day on facebook.

The reason I think I’m good at what I do, isn’t because I’m particularly technical, or advanced in my adoption of these tools, its because I’m really good at talking to people.  I love striking up conversations with new people (I wouldn’t sit next to me on a long train joruney!), I’m pretty good at putting people at ease and I’m genuine.  I don’t try and pretend to be someone else.  And as well as being the reasons I think I’m good at my job, this is why I enjoy it.

Because I do, I love my job, I love interacting with a community, talking on behalf of my company, deciding how we should talk to our customers in this space and also yes, even dealing with crises.

I’m going to blog a bit more about this topic in the next few weeks, my life is changing and I’m exploring new ways of thinking about everything, let me know if you have specific social media questions, I’ll do my best to try and answer them.

Warning! People might read this post…

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I’m not stupid, I know that by blogging here it is possible that people might actually read what I have to say (might!) but do you?

When we post something online, it is highly possible, nay probable out there in the big world of the interweb, that someone is going to read what you are saying. Those people might be your friends, they might be strangers but they will read it and, as is human nature, form a judgement about you.

In a world where social media and it’s many uses are discussed at great length, companies are really starting to get in on “listening” to what people have to say about them.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people being fired or disciplined because they’ve called in sick and then posted on facebook saying they’ve been off playing for the day. That isn’t what I’m talking about, directly.

My point is that people should really think carefully before committing themselves to an opinion, or comment that will forever be linked to them out there. There are a couple of questions I ask myself when I post something on twitter/facebook/my blog – I give you these as a guide, use them, change them, but please, just think before you post…

1) How would I feel if my dad reads it? (in actual fact my dad follows me on twitter and on my blog, so this is a genuine concern!)

2) How would I feel if my boss saw it?

3) How would I feel if a future boss saw it?

4) If I were showing my twitter account to people, to explain twitter, or doing a search to demonstrate it to a room full of people on a big screen, would I be embarrassed?

I know how ​easy it is to have a rubbish day, or be angry about someone/something and want to use my twitter stream as a place to vent, but it is really important to at least take a breath before I send that bitchy message. The same applies for drunken tweeting, but that calls for a whole new blog post!