One of the biggest things we need to think about when it comes to social media is the actual word “social.” Social can be defined as: living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation (Dictionary.com). Social media is defined as: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)(merriam-webster.com) Social networking can be used in many ways, shapes, and forms. One of the biggest things though about Social Media is community. Sure, we can use it to keep in contact with family members, friends and acquaintances. BUT, we can use it empower, to create and educate. One of the most important things about social media is community. In the definition as stated before, the word community exists. Its there for a reason.
Now what is community? We can look to the dictionary, which defines it as: a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. (Dictionary.com) Notice how it speaks of locality. Social media has expanded the local to international, but its still considered a community. A community is a group of like-minded people who empower and educate each other. With people from all over the globe of all walks, occupations and races, a lot can be accomplished. People can learn from each other, talk, engage, teach, learn, and come up with ideas to help the world around them. With events like the Social Summit, Ted Talks and many other conferences, thats exactly what is going on. Social media is bringing more power to you, to me, to everybody getting involved. Like-minded people are connecting and getting together to share ideas and get things done.
Lists on Twitter and Facebook help us sort out groups of people we would like to place in these communities. With the addition of Facebook Groups, it takes it even further. A community can be created where like-minded can engage in group chats, share documents, photos, videos and more. There are sites like GoToMeeting, which is used for Webinars, where anybody can create a video conference in which hundreds of people from all over can participate though computer or phone. Its pretty exciting stuff. We really need to embrace and take advantage of the technologies readily available to us. They were created for a reason. Community allows us to work as a team. Most of us remember the acronym. Together Everyone Achieves More, right? Its true, there is strength in numbers. No, I’m not saying that one person cant break outside of the box by them-self. It can and has been done by plenty of people. A great book about that is called: Tribes:We Need You to Lead Us; by a intelligent man named Seth Godin. Check him out if you haven’t already.
The point is, if you’re using social media, I encourage to find community somewhere. Join groups, talk to people interested in the same things you are. You’ll never know what you might learn, who you’ll meet, or even what you may accomplish. There is a world of opportunity. This big blue thing we call the ocean used to get in the way of people communicating from different countries. Then transportation came along, then phones, and then the internet, and where we are today. Take advantage of everything out there, you’ll be happier about it later on, and it shouldn’t be something you’ll regret later. Like in my previous blog post, Don’t Be Shy, say hello to someone new, engage in conversation.
Just one thing to keep in mind. If it’s something you’re not too to sure about, or not your area of expertise, don’t act like it is. Don’t be cocky, a jerk, full of yourself. Nobody wants that, nobody will want to talk to you if you do. Be open, friendly, considerate, listen when you need to do, and respond when appropriate. Its pretty simple stuff. Now have fun and help build community!