Archive for July, 2009

“Everybody” is an expert, yeah right!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

I read a lot of things on line.  If you read my posts very often,  you probably know that all ready.  But something interesting happened to me yesterday and I felt the urge to share it.

I was in a meeting with a person that expressed frustration and confusion with social media and feels overwhelmed.  She starts off with the list, “I know I am supposed to twitter, blog, facebook and I don’t know where to begin and I am embarrassed to admit it to anybody! Everything I read out there online makes me feel really intimidated.  I am so far behind the 8-ball, I don’t even know – what I don’t know.”

She reads lots of blogs and we both agreed how often we’re shocked by blogs and blog comments that are arrogant and hurtful. Almost as if there isn’t a person on the end of that keyboard.

If a person from the “40+ something” generation reads stuff like that, it is intimidating and often discourages them from engaging in a wonderful sharing process that 95% of this whole Social Media “thing” is.

In the Social Media world, I personally believe there ARE NO REAL experts – in fact it is really SO NEW for us NON-TECHIE types, it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes.  In fact if you are over 40, my guess is you come from a culture where asking for help isn’t easy.  ESPECIALLY from a complete stranger.  You feel as though you are exposing your inefficiencies and in our day, you could get terminated for that – especially if you are female.  I think half of the jobs I had in the 80’s were kept because I knew how to use a telex, was polite on the phone and could type!

How I got started.  I have had a Twitter Account for a long time now – (longtime in Twitter years is like “dog years” on steriods-2 years in Twitter time is like 20 years because of how fast this Social Media thing is moving!)

I am lucky.  A man that works with us here (@justinrussell) at Sephone, suggested I give Twitter a shot.  The second best suggestion from him was that I follow a guy named @chrisbrogan.  So I did.  Chris Brogan is a thoughtful, information seeker and social media philanthropist in the Social Media world. (My definition, not his – in fact I haven’t even asked him if I can mention him in this post- oops!) Chris is a helper.  His blog is written in a helpful, non boastful way.  I have NEVER met the man and yet I suggest people follow him whether they are in PR, Marketing or anything else.

Chris gets out there-speaks, blogs, does webinars, podcasts and is available.  As far as I am concerned, he is the center of my Social Media – but I think that may embarrass him. He always asks for feedback when he posts something and you know he is listening and reading it all.

A little tip: When you read a blog you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable, just leave it and don’t go back.  “We” are not their target audience anyway. But keep trying.  Eventually,  you will find the people that are “your experts,” in the meantime, your skin will become thicker and those “other people” wont make you feel so bad, because you are finding your own way, at your own pace, for your own reasons. It is about you, and after all it is what you want to accomplish.

So, “Come on in, the water is fine!” Get your feet wet, find some people like Chris to follow or read if you choose not to have a Twitter Account and know that most of us are finding our way as all this changes at a rapid pace. Social Media does not take a summer vacation!

The impersonal, personal side of our digital times

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

As I typed into my calendar on my laptop this morning the schedule of events I needed to attend in relationship to a recent death of a friend, it seemed weird to type the words “Funeral -(my friends name)” and actually put a “from this time – to that time” and schedule it.

In fact in the past few months, I have had several friends and relatives of friends die and I am feeling as if I may be bad luck or something. I guess it comes with the territory when you have lots of people in your life and you are a “people” person as I admittedly am.

But it brings me back to the biggest fear I have with all this technology around us.

Are we swapping out the greeting card or phone call of support to friends for the Facebook wall view of people you would normally TALK to and CONNECT with?

There is no doubt that Facebook, text messages, etc. have their places in our lives.  They are convenient ways to check in with each other in our all too busy, hustle, bustle world we are in. When I posted my blue mood on my Wall this past Sunday, there was a flurry of people encouraging me and even one surprise guest in my chat box sharing with me a Tao website that I never knew about.  I had no idea how many people checked out my Facebook page and certainly no idea how much those words would mean to me – instantly.

Then it reminded me also, how much I treasure that special note that comes to me in my mailbox (you know the one on your street?), the flowers picked for me out of my friend Marion’s garden that she brought to my office.  The last note I got was from my friend Katy.  I was so touched but her taking the time to buy a card and write me a personal note.

Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?  TIMEConnecting?

We all know time is so precious and the 24 hour day is non-negotiable, but it is “time” that you can share with someone that is truly precious. You are saying, “You matter to me. I care about you.”

So the next time you poke around on Facebook, leave a note behind, just because you see my Wall Post, doesn’t mean I know that you cared enough to think of me and type in my name to see what I have been up to.

Be spontaneous. When you see a friend’s car in the parking lot somewhere – take out a piece of paper (or grab that empty McDonald’s bag in your own car) and write a note and put it under the windshield wiper. Or pick up the phone – WHEN you think of it and even if they arent there, leave a message telling them you were thinking of them. Leave some “footprints” of yourself behind and I promise it will make you feel as warm and as special as it does them!

I promise my next post will be less philosophical and more “brilliant” (ha ha!) and more to the objective of this blog, to be helpful in choosing technology that works for you in your life.  But sometimes technology is just that.  We are humans and we all need hugs, all the gadgets in the world will ever change that!