Social media has made a significant difference to my life and career path in 2009. It opened doors and windows to unknown possibilities and a brand new horizon, to people and places where I’ve not imagined myself to meet and be.
If you are still new to social media, perhaps upon reading this post, you may find that it’s not so hard to comprehend after all. It is basically a relatively newer platform that humans use to communicate with one another. And many rules of life remains the same.
Social Media is like Life
- Start with the end in mind : Before you embark on a journey, you always decide a destination. Even if you don’t already, you are always in search of one. Social media is a lot like life, you need to know where you want to go and find the route to reach that destination along the way.
- Stop and look (listen) : Don’t be too hasty in trying to reach your destination or make achievements. Take small steps and make it a point to stop and look (listen) at your surroundings. You could find yourself discovering beautiful sceneries and observations you would otherwise have missed if you traveled on the highways. Listen to what people are talking about and make conversations to the most unlikely suspects. You would be rewarded with gifts of pleasant surprises along the way.
- Sincerity wins the day : Wherever you go in life, whichever agenda you may have, whatever you want to do, the basics of communication lies in the word “sincerity”. Lacking this in your heart and you risk closing many opportunities. Whether for your personal brand or for your clients, make it a point not to try too hard in selling. Be sincere in knowing the community and learn to be a part of that culture. Sincerity will lead you to some of the most amazing ends of the rainbows.
And life is grateful, for it will give you back what you have given
A lot like life, you will reap the returns from social media in relative to the contributions in which you have made. You may not be expecting it in the same form as you have given, but those rewards will be translated and distributed to you in various ways and you will see many of these turning into long-term benefits or life-changing events.
A new job in Social Media
Some of the unexpected rewards that was bestowed upon me includes a new job – as a digital PR strategist. In case you do not know, I am currently working for an international PR agency, leading digital efforts in the Singapore office whilst supporting my regional director in many of his projects. I have always wanted to explore public relations as an extension to my marketing knowledge but had procrastinated those plans when I found myself in a comfortable position with my last company.
However, the law of attraction was probably working for me when my an opportunity with my current employer knocked on the door. I was flattered to be recommended by a fellow tweep (one who tweets) who had not met me prior to putting my name in for the job. It is a wonder how social media has change the way we network in the business world forever. “Knowing someone” today does not require you to put a physical face to a name. However, the level of trust you can build in an online acquaintance will be a tricky issue that we each have to tackle with ourselves. Then again, knowing someone in person don’t mean you know the person either.
Since taking on this new position, I’ve had a chance to put my skills and knowledge into good test with various international clients and with some desirable results that has proved to be very valuable case studies for my company and myself. I’ll share more with everyone at another appropriate time.
Many friendships sprout by coincidences and when you least expect it. When the internet began to find popularity in the 90s, it created a new platform for people to make friends and expand their social circle. The evolution of social media has made this more evident than ever, allowing active interactions across platforms beyond simply chat. Each of these are designed for different purposes, from corporate social networking to challenging your friends on mini games. Everyone is bound to find something that fits their interest. This has made communications online a lot more conducive and effective than before.
And as life would have it, some of the most important people you are destined to meet are not conveniently sitting next to you. But by heaps of coincidences, you find them among the millions on the world wide web. Whether is it making new friends or getting in touch with old ones, social media has facilitated this so we no longer have the excuse of “saying we are too busy”.
Looking back, this year has indeed been a fascinating one for me personally. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in my life and some whom I’ve made steadfast friends with. Of these, I know a few will last a long way into the future.
A wealth of knowledge
The largest library I know today is not the one sitting in the city central. It is the one that sits within my browser. The internet is the world’s largest and greatest library of resources. I am sure no one can debate that with me. However, social media has changed the way we obtain those information and knowledge. Information used to be passive (web 1.0) and requires the user to actively find it. However, with the introduction of social media, information today is now fed to us in many different ways through RSS, Twitter, friends’ links, video clips etc. It floods our screens from every direction, cluttering our tiny brains. Sometimes, this overwhelming influx of knowledge can even be intimidating. But we take less effort today to locate and store resources, as well as making interesting finds that are out of our knowledge range. This helps expand our worldview and perspectives.
I feel almost deprived of knowledge when I am away from my social media platforms for too long and often when I hop back on again, I found myself trying very hard to grasp the crazy amount of new information that has been released in the past 24 hours. That is just how fast information travels today. REAL-TIME. Everything in your print is now “yester-news”.
However, from another point of view, I do agree that the dependence on technology just makes us more geeky than ever. So do balance that with some good ole travels. Nothing beats the real experience, for a journey of a thousand mile starts with a single step.
My personal sentiments
Many people around me are unable to understand how am I able to make a living out of Facebook and Twitter. What they are seeing are only the platforms, but they have failed to understand the nature of human’s desire to communicate and interact. It baffles my family on how I was able to find strange encounters online. Obviously they didn’t believe I had jobs looking for me just because I talk a lot on Twitter. Which, they obviously have no idea what is Twitter despite reading so much about it in the papers.
Social media is an overly used and overly hyped term in my opinion. It is simply but communications and dissemination of information. Something really simple, but branded with a unique terminology that differentiates it from the rest of the “traditional” channels.
Social media is not something I do to look hip or cool. It is simply a way of life I have chosen that happens to work perfectly well for me. I can travel miles everyday while seated at my desk. I venture into unknown waters and meet interesting people, as if I am transported into “Alice in the Wonderland” or “Wizard of Oz” each single day. Sometimes I meet with the Queen of Hearts, while others, I may bump into the Tin Man or Scarecrow. But each revealing a little about myself.
Social media beyond my job, is a journey of discovering others and unraveling myself.
Beyond personal experiences
In the next chapter of Social Media Lessons in 2009, I will share some of the prominent cases of social media locally and in the region that has created waves and changes. There are many lessons to be learned from social media this year, lessons which businesses should take serious learnings from especially those to do with digital crisis management. Governments around the world has also taken social media a lot more seriously than before as they see the dire situations it can potentially put them in. Consider the move in which China has imposed an embargo on all major foreign social media platforms within the country.
2010 will see major shifts in the landscape with many big players vying hard to be the commanding power. Lots to touch on, but till then, it’s time to return to the Yellow Brick Road.