Social media has
become the go-to method of networking. Everyone, it seems, these days is signed
up for Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
People are building networks of contacts at warp speed hoping to gain a
large audience of followers. For some it
has become a competition to get more followers.
I know some professionals that spend their nights searching for people
to connect with.
amount of time is spent on these sites, becoming an addiction to many who use
these sites. They post and wait for
others to comment on their photos, advice and articles. Even some social media experts suggest that
Twitter users tweet at least 4-5 times a day to "stay connected".
The question I have
is, "Connected to what?" What really are we gaining in terms of personal
branding by reaching out to our thousands of people in our social media
network? Most of what we say is
self-promoting or personal information about a coffee date or a party that no
one cares about except for the people involved.
It seems that
personal information should be kept personal and messages should be sent through
e-mail instead of Twitter or Facebook.
Have we gotten so caught up in having an audience to "talk to" that we
have lost our sense of protocol and concern with security? I believe we have.
Lately, I have been
guilty of this practice by using Facebook to share information to my 350
followers, most who don't care about what I have to say. I have responded to tweets on topics that
normally I don't care about, just to try to say "something" on Twitter. I certainly don't have enough to talk about
to tweet 4-5 times a day. Who cares if I
"just arrived for coffee with Joe"?
Social media is
here to stay. Most marketing companies
now are making loads of money teaching, mostly people over 30 years old, how to
use social media. It seems that people
in their 20's do it best since they practically invented it! They know how to make it fun and interesting.
Since I am over 30, I struggle with maintaining the proper tone on these sites.
Social media sites
act as a shortcut to gaining an audience.
It is a quicker way to "meet" people and exchange information to
individuals we don't know. I do like to
meet new people, but I don't need to "collect" them as fans. Once in a while I connect with someone that I
want to engage with. And, I can't say
that being on social networks has lead to new business.
So, why do I engage
in social media? Why have companies
gotten into the game? It's because it
has become a "must" in business to have a presence in this space. It's like having your personal resume out in
cyberspace so people can check you out.
When I meet someone I immediately go to Facebook or Linkedin to see what
is on their sites.
That being said, we
all need to be more careful just who we let into our social media network. It's not about the number of contacts you
have, it's about having quality contacts that add value to your life. Be careful who is allowed into your personal
I have recently
been asked, "Will you marry me" from an unknown follower from
Three people from
Facebook. These people were "friends" of
my Facebook friends, and I am quite sure that they don't know them. So why do they want to be my Facebook friend?
Most of us are
guilty of sharing way too much personal information on media sites that makes
us an easy target for identity theft and robbery. Again, I am guilty of sharing too many photos
and timelines of my travel that thieves can monopolize on. It's a dangerous road and one that I am
evaluating whether sharing too much information is prudent for my return on
Take time to purge
your media sites, leaving the contacts you have that you really want to
correspond with. Get rid the others that
are suspect. If you want to get
attention from the masses for a product or service you are selling, create a
There is a place in
our lives for social media sites. Yet,
don't let your need to quickly build a network of numbers versus quality of
connects threaten your personal brand or your security. Take it slow and monitor who is in your
network and why they are there!