Social Media – “It is not a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate” (credit: Marta Kagan, What the F**K is Social Media)
There are many different ways of looking at this social media revolution – your kids get it, but they also can’t see how it could be used for business, or for “grownup” reasons. Parent’s see it as a social tool for their kids and see their kids wasting time on the computer (Hint to parents – you can learn a lot about your kids by being their Facebook friend…)
I am going to take a stab at categorizing my experiences so far. These are the types of people I have met along the way:
The social Kids – most kids that can use a computer have a Facebook account. They don’t use email, they spend 8-16 hours per week on social networking sites commenting, updating, uploading, and browsing. They don’t have a clue what happens in the real world because they haven’t got there yet.
The social Parents – All of the parents of social kids – their parents usually don’t have a clue at how much information the kids are exposed to online and how much personal info they share every day. They see social tools as a waste of time, they have a job where any type of social networking is frowned upon, and they can’t fathom how it could ever be of value to them, or their business.
The social Addicts – these people have jumped in with both feet and have been with social tools from the beginning. They have a huge social network, constantly meeting people online and interacting with new connections. These people are pushing the limits at their place of business because social tools are part of their existence and they never shut them off. Or better yet, they are using social media tools to better position their business in the market and engage their employees. They will tweet about what they are doing at work, and tweet all night long about what they are having for dinner (from their Smartphone of course!). Their work/personal life lines are blurred because they are always connected.
The social Ignorers – this group has been in the workforce just long enough to have missed the bandwagon. They are focused on their career and, like the social parents, don’t pay any attention to what is happening on the web. They use the internet for research, for help with problems at work, but are hesitant (and maybe a bit overwhelmed) of the tools that are out there.
The social Adaptors – This is the other half (ok, not quite half, maybe 10%) of the social ignorers. This group has entered the social media space and has had a small win that keeps them engaged in it. Maybe they saved a $500 service call on their TV because they found the right blog that diagnosed the problem and contained instructions on exactly how to fix it. They have discovered where these tools could be applied during their workday. They have stepped out of the box, and out of their comfort zone a bit to dabble in, and to listen to what the social addicts are saying.
The more you listen, the more interesting things you begin to hear, and when faced with an interesting problem at work, you have more avenues to explore on the web because you read a blog somewhere on how to deal with a certain change event. Or maybe you reached out to someone who you have been following, introduced yourself, and made a connection that helped you. People are usually more than happy to talk and offer their 2 cents if you ask for it. And like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
So which one are you?