Navigating Social Media Like A Human Being by @ProjectMaven

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how we do business in the world of social media. As Director of Communications for the event industry start-up eventwist, I spend a lot of time developing relationships, both online and in person. I attend industry events – networking, promotional and educational, and I spend a ton of time online connecting with people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I also blog for a bunch of different sites, so there are always new conversations and projects arising from those postings…

Since we’re nearing the end of the year, I’ve got that overall assessment kind of feeling. Here’s what I’ve been trying to accomplish when I engage in these activities, and how I hope to do a better job going forward:

1) Clarity. My primary goal is always clear communication. In whatever letter, blog post or other message I send, I’m always hoping that my message comes across in a genuine fashion. If I want to let people know about something I’m excited about, I want to make sure they know exactly why. If I have an issue that’s concerning me, I want to spell it out clearly, creating a concise path towards the possibility of a solution. It’s like you say to little kids, “Use your words.” I try to do this to the best of my abilities…

2) Honesty. This one should go without saying, but now more than ever, I’d better be able to back up my facts and my claims. There are far too many ways for people to fact check me, so I’d better be on target. I work hard to research the information I share online with current and prospective clients, associates and friends, to make sure that it is truthful and accurate.

3) Genuine Enthusiasm. Developing business and creative partnerships entails a lot of promotion of one another’s products, projects and ideas. If I’m not genuinely enthusiastic about what I’m promoting, it’s hard to come across in a way that carries any weight. I’ve made the commitment to myself to only take on new projects about which I’m truly excited. In that way, I feel confident that I can stand behind my communications 100%.

4) Originality. Yes, there are rules and conventions to posting blogs, and etiquette for following and friending people on the various social media platforms. I like to play nice, but I also don’t want to feel that I’m going through the motions in a way that makes my words and gestures feel stale or pre-packaged. It’s not always possible to infuse originality into every single thing we do, but it is nice to mix it up once in awhile. When I re-tweet people’s posts, I usually add at least a word or two of my own to show that a human actually made this choice. I work hard to show that I’m thinking of my readers, even in group emails or automated posts. And yes, I often break the rules, to suit my own temperament.

5) Keeping it Personal. This is related to everything else I’ve listed. I try to stamp everything I do with my own personal touch. It’s not better or worse than anyone else’s, it’s just mine. It’s what makes my work and my outreach distinct from everyone else’s out there in cyberspace. The more automated our work and our world becomes, the more I feel we need to maintain a human touch in everything we do. Not only that, but it also keeps things more interesting!

People say this week marks a big turning point for humanity. Perhaps that’s true. If so, then I want to keep on promoting what is most human about the way we do business with one another. In this spirit, I wish you all a happy holiday season and a great new year filled with personal, original and significant work!

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