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Social Media: A Journey…

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“The term Social Media describes tools, websites and software that allows people to connect and share…. Social Media Marketing is all about gaining that Social Media exposure in a tactical way, all why carefully avoiding getting blocked or banned.” Chris Garrett

A Social Media Journey: Six Degrees and more...

What does Social Media mean to you? It seems like only yesterday when a colleague at a marketing firm invited me to join an online business group – LinkedIn. At the time, I believe this was in 2004 or so, I didn’t know what to make of it. I wasn’t particularly interested in posting my personal business contact information online but, with some nudging and the reminder that it was for professional networking, I relented. It took me another year or two to revisit the site and start taking my involvement a tad more seriously. It was through my joining LinkedIn that I got to know about WordPress and started my very first blog here.

Slowly but surely, other friends invited me to join other sites and before I knew it, I was linkedIn, twitter’d, facebook’d, ning’d, myspace’d, flickr’d and networked all over town. I believe 2009 was my year of the network marathon; I ran or, perhaps, galloped is a better visual … to join many sites. To date, I’ve joined all the popular social network sites and probably many more that aren’t as popular. The majority of sites I joined were for creative pursuits; writing, photography, music and conversations on blogging and more. It has been both exhilarating and exhausting; as much effort is needed to create and maintain viable friendships online.

How has the journey been? I remember the day I decided to discard my assumed name on Facebook and just be me. Within 24 hours, I connected with several friends from my high school days and even found a long lost childhood friend. When I joined Twitter, even though I had reservations about my initial foray there, I met new groups of people from all walks of life who became friends; with a 140 character tweet, I/we get to chat with some pretty amazing, powerful, entertaining tweeps or tweeple.

Sure, digital stalkers on Twitter were periodically blocked for “strange behavior or activity,”however, the majority are hardworking, focused people who use the medium to share valuable, hot topic, life enriching/life saving information. Businesses continue to use it as way to connect directly to consumers. Every social network site I joined tried to offer something unique to make visiting an enjoyable event. I even took several fantastic workshops and webinars on making the social media experience productive and positive… It has been quite the journey.

Social Media: Brian Solis & Jesse3 The Conversation 3.0

While much has been said about Social Media and its deeper social-cultural implications on how we communicate, I blogged on it here, one thing I know for sure is that it opens the door for us to truly experience that six-degrees-of-separation phenomena. Social networks truly embody the idea of communicating in a global village and the village continues to grow; both organically and through innovative communities. In my 2-3 short years of becoming actively engaged in connecting and conversing in communities on the internet, I have met people from every possible country in the world. The connections have not necessarily been with people exactly like me, homogeneity has its place, but rather the door widened to bring in folk of all ilk … I like that!

At some point in my journey, I would probably say last fall, I realized that instead of joining more and more networks; believe me there are new ones created daily, I would be better off focusing my energy on maximizing my relationships on fewer sites and building friendships that were mutually beneficial. In the long run, building mutually beneficial, respectful connections help us learn and grow. I joined the Post A Day 2011 challenge on WordPress because I enjoy blogging and also because I recognize how valuable it is to connect with other bloggers in such a focused, albeit incredibly challenging, way.

Which do you keep and which to leave behind? While this is an important question, I haven’t made any decisions. Why? I don’t know yet, but I do know that the journey has been a positive one and I appreciate all the people and connections I have made to date. Recently, a friend invited me to join Quora and I’m still thinking about it…  Has social media changed you? I don’t think it has changed me per se, however, it has enriched my online experience and provided many opportunities for me to share ideas and exchange information with people around the world. It has exposed me to many brilliant, funny, kind, insightful, talented, and, in some instances, truly crazy folk.

Every day, I learn something new from my interactions and get a chance to connect, even briefly, with another soul. For that, I am grateful and I have no regrets. What has your social media/network journey been like so far? Are you totally plugged in and need to pull some plugs out? Do share! This post is partly in response to a prompt from Mamakat’s Writer’s Workshop: How has social media changed you?

Positive Motivation Tip: The journey from an online connection to an offline friendship is becoming ubiquitous. Cherish your connections.

PHOTO CREDITS: Six Degrees of Separation via GNU Free Documentation License on Wikipedia
The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis & Jesse3 via The Conversation

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

16 Comments leave one →
  1. 20/01/2011 12:16 am

    I clicked the like button…but wish I could click the love button. 🙂
    Elizabeth, you are an experienced hand at this compared to me…my website and wordpress blogsite were opened this past summer in July.
    Social media is an amazing vehicle for connecting with people. Whether one has a business, product or service to offer to the public or just wants to meet others and exchange and share thoughts, social networking has what seems like an infinite number of possibilities. And I agree, one tends to get spread out too thinly…it is difficult to refrain from joining EVERYTHING…but quality is more important than quantity and we do need to sleep. 🙂
    But one thing I won’t give up is subscribing to and reading your daily posts!

  2. 20/01/2011 1:35 am

    you wrote: I have met people from every possible country in the world. It has exposed me to many brilliant, funny, kind, insightful, talented, and, in some instances, truly crazy folk.
    I say: YESSS! and it has changed me, helped to see more than my own cultural box. comparing cultures makes wise …

  3. Goz permalink
    20/01/2011 5:13 am

    LinkedIn, twitter’d, facebook’d…etc I like that. Unlike you, I have (so far) resisted the lure – apart from Twitter and (very) few blogs, to ‘plug in’. And I don’t know what I’m missing, sooo…I don’t miss anything! I feel like I can glimpse/sample this virtual global network vicariously through blogs such as yours and so far, so good for me.

    • 20/01/2011 9:06 am

      you wrote:
      I deactivated my facebook account. And I’m happy. It doesn’t do anything for me anymore. I find blogging so much more fulfilling. For one thing, I like writing.
      frizztext: the same as me, I agree…

  4. 20/01/2011 6:31 am

    I was on Facebook for years, had 800+ Facebook friends, and became addicted to it. I realized, however, how useless it was becoming to me. So I deactivated my account. And I’m happy. Maybe I’ll reactivate it at some point, but now, I don’t feel the need to. If I ever go back to it, I doubt I’ll be as hooked as I once was. It doesn’t do anything for me anymore.

    I find blogging so much more fulfilling. For one thing, I like writing. I find satisfaction in it. Posting a photo on Facebook and having someone comment on it can’t compare to writing a post for my WordPress blog and finding someone has left a comment saying that they can relate to my thoughts, they like what I said, etc. Two, I like that I’m making friends here in the blogosphere, especially because most of us bloggers have in common a love of the written word.

  5. 20/01/2011 8:29 am

    I always join every social networking site I can….if I don’t use it, I can at least make sure no one else grabs my name!

    But seriously, I use the heck outta facebook and twitter.

    Just stopping by to say hello from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop 🙂

  6. 20/01/2011 8:56 am

    I too use Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. I find they are a great way to keep up with what friends are up to even when you haven’t actually spoke to them for a while!

  7. 20/01/2011 9:53 am

    I’m grateful for social media for many reasons, not the least of which is meeting people like you. The only one I have no interest in is linkedin, because I think it’s more corporate and I left that world behind years ago.
    I love social media so much I recently launched a new network with 2 friends called The Blogstress Network,
    We are encouraging women to blog and join in the conversation in any way they choose. It’s all about women helping women.
    Thanks for the post!

  8. Bree permalink
    20/01/2011 10:12 am

    Social Media is such an addictive combo og platforms that extricating yourself is harder than joing h
    It is a good thing that you will rein it in somewhat.
    But like you asked, where does one start?

  9. 20/01/2011 11:53 am

    Awesome post and blog!!! I didn’t know that LinkedIn had been around that long – its been a great way for me to connect with former co-workers to help me start finding work 🙂

  10. 20/01/2011 12:24 pm

    Social media has certainly changed my life and how I view the world. Information is sent across thousands of miles with the click of a mouse. Social media is powerful and influences millions of people and their behavior.

  11. 20/01/2011 7:08 pm

    I am relatively new to social networking- I dragged my feet as long as long as I could! But am quickly finding myself addicted and wondering how I ever lived without it! I hope this doesn’t turn into a problem…

  12. 20/01/2011 8:13 pm

    Nice post – I have to stop every now and then and think about the time I spend plugged in … is something a good use of my time? Would I (and my family) be better off if I unplugged from this or that online activity? I have to think about it daily or the Internet starts turning into a black hole into which my time disappears!

  13. 21/01/2011 1:51 am

    wonderful blog!

  14. 21/01/2011 12:08 pm

    Great post! I don’t know that social media has changed me (have to think about that one a bit), but it definitely has changed where I garner information and look for new connections. I have been on several message boards, usually relating to a specific theme. And I swore I would never join Twitter (I think I’m the last person I know who doesn’t have a smart phone, so I didn’t see the point). But, this summer I did and now love that little tweety site! I have found so many resources for my kidlet’s GFCF+ diet, I’ve connected with many other parents who have a child on the spectrum, other adults living with autism, and many more people who are entertaining, informative, and just plain fun! Social media is also rapidly changing us as a society. We no longer live strictly within our relatively small inner circles. We have many more places to look for information and its at our fingertips. I’m glad I’ve hopped on to this social media train!

    And I’m glad you stopped by my blog & said hello….so that I could return the visit and ‘see’ you! :> Hope you have some fun planned for your weekend!


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