The Media is Social – But Are YOU?

by Tara Gentile on March 30, 2011

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Are you tired of hearing about social media yet?

You can’t escape the internet void without being sucked into articles & top ten lists about social media. Luckily, there is a growing movement of people who are ready to stop talking about the medium and start talking about what it all means.

As an introvert, I approach social media in a measured & consistent way to connect with people I wouldn’t have the guts to connect with in traditional social situations. Instead of terror, I feel power.

But as I grow my social media acumen, I become ever more aware of its limited scope. I can connect with movers & shakers, answer customer questions, and monitor my reputation, but how can I translate those interactions to clients referred, dollars earned, or projects planned?

Naysayers would have you believe social media creates barriers to real relationships – those that will move your business forward. I would argue that it is ourselves who create the barriers when we fear turning connections into relationships.

So how can you become more social with your social media?

  • Go deeper in each platform. Twitter has direct messages, Facebook has commenting & mail, Flickr even has a messaging system. Use them. Make a connection, allow yourself a few public interactions, and then start up a deeper conversation.
  • Leave the platform. Make your Twitter relationships email buddies. Turn your Facebook conversations into Skype conversations. Things suddenly get more “real” when we connect with people in multiple ways.
  • Take it offline. Make a concerted effort to meet as many social media friends as possible in the analog world. Set up coffee dates, pick up the phone, or use snail mail. Use social media to break the ice and use face-to-face situations to get things done.

What’s your experience with deepening relationships you’ve started online?

{image by happytownusa on Etsy}

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine April 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Got to love our Analog World time with friends! I absolutely LOVE how social media helps us break the ice in a way many feel very comfortable doing. Taking that NEXT step and bringing the connections off-line is often the tough part for people. You give great tips on how to do that.
Nothing beats the face to face time with a true blue friend. I believe that so strongly I created a service to help parents of young children do just that!

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2 Kara Vita April 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Great advice on leaving the platform.

Depending on the social network, there are limitations on the way people use it to communicate and express themselves. While things like Twitter and Facebook have its place, they are not meant for long form communication and not as personal as traditional mediums such as e-mail and phone calls.

They are great platforms for open networking, but the true power in them is in the relationships that can form from meeting others on there.

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3 AlikiBags April 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

What a thoughtful blog with brilliant pointers for ‘personal action’. Must admit, have not yet followed through with 2 coffee meetings of interesting people from fb. x

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4 Tara Gentile March 31, 2011 at 9:40 am

Yay! Can’t wait to meet YOU at #SYSoul.

Saw Marie Forleo at a party I was at last night. Nearly peed my tights. I’m totally relying on the strength of all my fab friends who will be there with me to make my social butterfly soar!

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5 Heather Allard March 31, 2011 at 10:21 am

LOL. It must be strange to see people in real life. :)

Looking forward to meeting you, Tara!!

Heather

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6 Heather Allard March 31, 2011 at 9:04 am

I’m such a huge fan of social media – it’s helped me so much in my business and has enriched my life. I’ve met so many people that I now consider some of my closest friends. I talk to a couple of them on the phone almost every day and others a few times a month.

I’m really looking forward to meeting a few of them at Marie Forleo’s Selling Your Soul event in May. :)

Thanks for a great post, Tara.
Heather

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7 Jenifer Gallagher March 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Aah, this is a great post! I have a difficult time consistently engaging online, as I have such a strong preference for face time (I love that you call it the analog world!) I did meet one of my best real-time friends ever in a forum, and lucked out that she happens to live nearby. And while my business partner and I have been friends for almost 30 years, we probably wouldn’t have started our business together if it weren’t for an extensive online relationship. Thanks for the reminders that good, no great!, things come from social media, even to the reluctant user!

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8 Tara Gentile March 31, 2011 at 9:37 am

Re: Analog World – I can’t stand when people call it the “real” world. It’s all real to me!

As for the rest of your comment, Amen!!

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9 Diana Meyer March 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Tara – great blog! I also used it recently to strengthen a connection with someone I met years ago at a marketing networking event. We’ve been connected with each other on LinkedIn and Twitter and only recently had a great conversation via Twitter direct messages. I also tweeted a couple of questions in the last month and was able to have phone and e-mail conversations with a few people who have been very helpful. I think we all need to do both – interact on social media and interact the “old-fashion” way.

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10 Tara Gentile March 31, 2011 at 9:36 am

Yes!! That’s another GREAT example. Facebook is especially ripe for that kind of interaction too. We “meet up” with old classmates & friends but fail to recognize how deeper relationships with those old buddies might further our cause (and, of course, be great fun!).

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