The urge to moan about my lack of output or success in the job market is growing, so I thought I’d side-step it and talk about Social Media instead.
I’m not a guru. I can’t tell you how to “do” Social Media, and I can’t promise you that I’ll get Social Media to increase your sales, your popularity or your productivity.
What I can say is that I enjoy interacting with other people through Social Media, and the Social Media I prefer is G+. I’m sorry, Facebook friends, but most of the time when you’re talking to me or getting comments from me on Facebook, it’s Mrs Dim. Facebook has been brilliant for staying in touch with friends from the UK, and it’s a great standby if someone hasn’t handed out their email address. When Mrs Dim was away recently, we even used it to message each other, which looked very bizarre to other people, since we both used the same login….
Anyway, I was invited to join G+ during the Beta phase and found it was fun. At first it was quiet, with few users, but I added some interesting folks to my circles and things started to move. In G+ you have circles for different groups of people, and you can post things to a single circle, or all your circles, or just to the public….and you can do the same with the things you see. What appears is called your stream, and you can set it to receive a lot of things from particular circles, and not much from others, or just leave them all open all the time, like I do.
I’ve been quite cautious about who I’ve added to my circles, meaning I’m only in contact with around 400 people. That’s still a lot of content rushing past every day. In turn, only around 200 people have ME in THEIR circles, so I’m not filling the whole internet with my ramblings. What that small grouping means is that I can actually converse with these people, swap ideas and stories, read what they’ve got to say and maybe pass it along.
I’ve learned a great deal from G+, from reading articles reposted by friends, following links to other websites, and I’ve made some good friends. Yes, friends.
Some people have the opinion that friends are only friends if you’ve met them face to face. But these are people I chat to every day. I may not know a great deal about them – in some cases, I don’t even know their real names – but I know I like chatting to them. They don’t ask me creepy questions about my kids, they don’t try to find out my address, my phone number or bank details, and we share a lot of interests. When I need an opinion on something, like my new e-book, I can ask these people. They don’t have the need, like real-life friends do, to say nice things to me because someday we’ll be having dinner together. In turn, I’ve been asked to offer advice on THEIR stories, or pictures, or projects.
This is the key with social media, or so I’ve heard. Not building a huge following and broadcasting your ‘stuff’ to them on a regular basis. No, the idea is to build relationships by talking to people, getting to know them a little, and giving them some of your time and attention. It’s only fair, after all.
I know that some of the 200 people who have me in their circles, have LOTS more people following them than I do. Thousands and thousands, in some cases. If I post news of my new project and one of them is kind enough to repost it, it can be seen by thousands of readers instead of hundreds. If some of them repost it, it could reach hundreds of thousands. That’s the connecting power of social media, but it means nothing if YOU don’t connect with the people first.