Don’t Forget the Social in Social Media

Social Media is sweeping around the world extremely quickly.  You can't go anywhere without hearing about Facebook or seeing a LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter logo on something.  It's an amazing time to be alive.  Our kids who are growing up with this don't know any different.  This is just the way it is.  And it's not going away.
Some people are using Social Media in stealth mode, meaning they're observing and not engaging in online conversations.  Actually, stealth mode is a very powerful tool in your bag when you're keeping tabs on your competition and watching what people are talking about.  This information can be very valuable to you if you're thinking about launching a business or introducing a new product or service. 
But don't forget the social in Social Media.  Many people are hiding behind their computers.  I've heard it said that this is a very lonely time to be alive even though we have all these amazing ways to connect and reconnect.  Being a social networking or computer expert doesn't guarantee relationships.  Actually, having the ability to connect with people online doesn't matter if you don't bring something to the table.
Bring friendliness, courtesy and sincere interest to the table.  Regardless of how sophisticated the internet and other technologies get, people are still going to be people.  Forever.  How could we not be?  We're social creatures.  But as we're connecting with everyone are we building relationships?  Are we letting people know that we are interested in them?  Dale Carnegie said that you will earn more friends by taking a sincere interest in them than trying to get them to take a sincere interest in you.  And therein lies the paradox.  We get what we give.
When we take a sincere interest in others they take a sincere interest in us.  Why is this?  For the simple reason that people want to feel appreciated.  And when we appreciate others, they appreciate us for appreciating them.  So as you're connecting with everyone and their brother take an extra 30 seconds to send them a personal message saying that you appreciate them and that you want them to know that if there is anything you can ever do to help them, you'd like to do it.  And mean it.
Once you get past the initial "gee whiz, this Facebook thing is cool" factor, you come back to the same questions that we've been asking forever.  How do we build and sustain mutually-beneficial, win-win relationships?  The same way we always have.  By being social in a good way.  By doing the little things like noticing someone's birthday and sending them a card or a quick link to the Beatles' singing "Happy Birthday" on YouTube.  By seeing that someone's son won a baseball game and congratulating them on having a super kid.  By noticing that someone is having a bad day and trying to pick them up by reminding them of how special they are. 
The things that are going on in people's lives have never been easier to see than they are now through platforms like Facebook and other Social Networking sites.  Be social.  Spread the love.  In your personal life and in your business life.  Just because someone has a suit on doesn't mean that they don't still want to be appreciated.  Look for ways to make people smile.  Put the social in Social Media.  It can change your life.

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