Monday, January 9, 2012

"Use social media for being social": Why? How?

We all have differing levels and styles when it comes to social skills. Some of us are socially awkward, some avoid social interaction as much as possible, some are social butterflies, some can pull anyone out of their shell, some we avoid at all costs. Yet people with all these types of social skills are involved in social media.

So when some social media experts advise, "treat social media like you're at a cocktail party," what should you do? Many people would ideally like to be the person folks never want to tear themselves away from at a party because of the enlightening and positive interchange. They seldom want to be the person who spouts uncommunicative concepts, monopolizes the conversation, or makes people feel time spent with you is a test of their emergency response systems. So why do so many people sometimes find themselves in those positions?

Scott Stratten has a number of YouTube videos dealing with the topic, especially focused on the concept that "social media is social currency." He explains that if you want to get something out of your social contacts then you must first provide them with something of value. Too many people want to just push their stuff out there and never think of the other guy, making it a one-way ticket to all-about-them. This is obvious from their communication tactics and messages, or even that they've attempted to communicate with you at all, since you're left scratching your head about what possible connection there could be with you.

Instead, Stratten's message is that "you must invest in networks before you can pull out of them," a concept he explores through (i.e., "Why do we market the way we hate to be marketed to?") with the tagline "Stop Marketing. Start Engaging." He states that humans function off of validation; they want to be heard and think that you care.

Here are some of his YouTube videos I find especially entertaining and enlightening:
Don't be that guy on Facebook (1:46)
The Problem With QR Codes (2:39)
The Secret To Twitter (3:19)
Social Media & Engagement Explained by UnMarketing (49:46)
Brenda Dow is a specialist in Marketing, Advancement, and Business Development. She holds degrees in communications and human resources management, and blogs about affinities and affinity related activities at

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