For those people knee-deep in daily social media chatter, it may seem that everyone else is similarly active. Perhaps even, you judge anyone who opts out of social media as out of touch or an outlier, negligently avoiding this global, career- and life-boosting forum.
Conversely, you may be the social media outlier above the fray, or think that it’s simply too noisy and unkempt. Maybe you feel that involving yourself in the conversation will mar your professional or personal reputation (or both).
Reasons for avoiding – or even having disdain for– social media can vary. The following are four reasons you may be avoiding, or greatly restricting, your social media activities and ways you can overcome the negatives in order to step into the conversation. By doing so, you may expand your visibility and career opportunities.
Reason #1. Social media is for braggarts. You witness folks trumpeting vacation itineraries, trips to the gym and dinnertime photos. Not only does this seem silly, but it also is not something you’re interested in doing.
Your Way: While you may not want to divulge your day-to-day for a variety of reasons, there are other ways to be personable without being showy. Consider how you can connect, one-on-one through this venue. If there’s someone in your network who could use a lift, post a photo of your city’s skyline at sunset or of the sun rising over your favorite lake with an encouraging message, and make sure your friend sees it by tagging them.
Or, perhaps you know your colleague is interested in golf or skiing or some other activity, and you see an interesting article on one of these topics. Read it, extract an anecdote you know may resonate and customize a share, including your friend’s social media name or handle in the post.
This more intentional, conversational method of sharing on social media versus simply posting a meme or broadcasting the latest leg of your vacation is a way to get more comfortable on this public forum, while deepening the connection one person at a time.
Reason #2. People are too chatty, and you don’t want another conversation to manage.
Your Way: While it may seem that in-person conversation protocol translates directly into the online world, it doesn’t have to. While some folks meticulously respond to every utterance directed around or to them online, others do not burden themselves this way.
Instead, they post what inspires them, respond as they are inspired to do so and comment upon others’ sharings as they are roused.
As in many things in life, you are not going to please everyone all of the time. Being conversational as you see fit, and as is conducive to the rhythm of your day is what will ultimately make your social media experience an enhancing one as opposed to another job on your overflowing plate.
Reason #3. Politics and religion are such tough, often divisive subjects, and you don’t want to get caught up in the quagmire.
Your Way. You do not have to get involved in either of these topics if you choose not to do so. This includes filtering out streams on topics that are hot buttons you simply do not want to engage in or be confronted with in your daily line of vision.
Moreover, creating special lists or groups that you can check into for inspiring, positive or intellectually stimulating messages that suit your particular needs and goals is an ideal way to maintain harmony in your online experience.
Reason #4. It’s a waste of time.
Your Way. Behave intuitively and naturally, but also weave strategy into your activities. For example, if you read an article that lights your fire, perhaps you will then be inspired to write your own angle on a similar topic, which provides an opportunity to quote the author whom originally inspired you.
When you then share the article or blog you’ve written, be sure to provide a shout-out to the person you quoted (include their handle or ‘tag’ them in the post so they see it).
By organically noting favorite authors, leaders or other motivating communicators, and shining a light on them and their thought-work, you may in turn spark a new relationship, or draw in new opportunities for work, collaboration or referrals down the road.
By adding value to someone else’s life you can in turn add bricks to the foundation of your career and business, while also paving new pathways to opportunity. In other words, social media can enhance your day if you take the time and thoughtful energy to engage in your unique way.