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The Personal Impact of Social Media

In my mind there are three applications of social media that exist.

The first is personal and it is the easiest and most common, you get engaged with social networking (Facebook) because you want to be social, you want to keep up to date with friends and family, share pictures, maybe reconnect with some old friends.

Have a passion for something, or want to learn something?  There is probably a blog for that.  And if you are passionate enough, maybe you will start your own blog, or become  part of a like minded community of people online (you can even create your own at  The social aspect is a great learning experience once you learn how to filter out the stuff you don’t want to see.  RSS and twitter are great ways to stay on top of things that you are interested in.

Then you take it up a notch and connect with colleagues, partners, and clients, and start using social media to promote yourself professionally (LinkedIn).  For the most part this is still personal, although you are expanding your network, which ultimately will help you in your work life.  This also helps your company build a presence on the web, but I will talk more about that later on.

All of this activity is about who you are as a person, and you can get as detailed as you want or don’t want.  Share what you are comfortable sharing, and use common sense to keep you safe.  Don’t brag publicly on Facebook that you just got a brand new TV, and then tell everyone that you are going away on vacation for 2 weeks.

When I think about it, none of my online profiles have any contact info aside from an email address, and yet I can look anyone up using Canada411, easily get their address, and then go to Google Maps street view and know exactly what their house looks like.   (In case you didn’t know, Google just put London, Ontario street view online.  I can see my son playing in the yard outside his daycare.)

So do you spend the time or don’t you?  Our days are already jam packed.

I made a decision months ago that I wanted to dedicate time to it, explore more, and dedicated a chunk of time every day to get online.  Turns out that I sometimes do need that extra hour of sleep, but most nights I am on the computer reading, absorbing, and contributing more.  My iPhone has also changed my patterns drastically, but that is a subject for another post.

If you want to use these tools to connect with other people, you still need to build relationships with your online connections.  Don’t expect that just because you have a LinkedIn profile means that you will land your dream job – you still have to work at it, building credibility and trust, just like in any relationship.  In this day and age, whether you like it or not, people will be googling you to find out more about you – What are they going to find?  What do you want people to find?  Things you put online are pretty much there forever, so be conscious of how you are presenting yourself.

I believe that for you to progress through and to comprehend the business cases for social media, you need to have some level of engagement in social media personally, and I also believe that this is where social media is going to be the most valuable to you.

This is turning into a long post, and it really sets the stage for my next post, where I will discuss Social Marketing and Social Knowledge Management (the other two applications of social media).  The networks you are building personally, the tools you are learning, are applicable at the office, and the more you get into it, a little voice in the back of your head will start saying, hey – I could use these tools to increase brand awareness of my products, as well as increase engagement and collaboration at work.

How is social media going to impact you personally?  It has already impacted millions of other people, including a whole generation that has grown up with it.  Impact kind of has a negative connotation to it, but can millions of people all be wrong?  Are those millions of people wasting their time?

I’m not.

Posted in 2.0 Lessons, Social Media.

2 Responses

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  1. Therese Van Es says

    Hey Jeremy – thanks for your thoughts…very informative. I’m launching another business and am well aware of the importance of social media so I’m learnin’ the ropes! You keep blogging and I’ll keep reading and learning. Thanks!

  2. Todd Youngblood says

    Makes a lot of sense to me. You’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of all the buzz about social media, and a genuine “techno-phobe” to think that it’s not going to change the sales professional profoundly.

    Your advice to “have some level of engagement in social media personally,” is right on the money! The rep who doesn’t will end up wondering what the heck happened.

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