Social Media + Keeping it Real = Money, Learning, and Great Friends
As social media continues to dominate the web space as well as play a part in most of our daily lives, I began using social media tools several years ago; but never with the intention that it would “get” me anything. I did it for the simple reason that…I’m social. I genuinely have a love for people and believe that every person I meet is the opportunity to learn something new.
My first encounter with social media was using “Friendster” and LinkedIn. This was so long ago, that there weren’t even ads on either of the sites. This expanded to MySpace and then Facebook, Twitter, and Brazen Careerist. As of about 6 months ago, I was using these tools in my professional arena; posting ads, targeting different groups, learning how to make campaigns “viral”; but I still did not have much use in my personal life.
I had worked with a man named Jay Berkowitz, the owner of Ten Golden Rules, for the past year on my professional campaigns and began listening to his podcasts and reading his blog, books, etc. I did all of this solely to learn for “business” purposes, but found it all intriguing.
When I stopped working FT for a ‘company’ and started consulting (this was only about 4 months ago), I called Jay to let him know; the first thing he said was, “Start blogging”. So I did. What I found was that I loved blogging because I would be “me”. I kept it real, I said what I thought, I backed up what I thought with data, and there was no one there to tell me HOW to write or that what I was writing was bad or boring. It became a release for me. It has also become a basis for the reason companies want to work with me. They know I may not be the most “corporate” in the bunch, but I will be blunt and deliver results.
While I have almost 3,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook and almost 1,000 connections on Linkedin, I still used FB for social purposes only and Linkedin – I had made some deals, recieved some job offers, but had not gone on daily to answer questions in the networking groups or used any of the other tools they offered.
I then came upon Brazen Careerist. I’m unsure why it appealed to me, as I’ve been invited to thousands of social netowrks and never sign up, but I signed up for this one. As soon as I signed up, I recieved emails from the community manager, Ryan Paugh, inviting me to join networks, saying he was a ‘fan’, etc. While I’m guessing these were auto-triggered, what I liked about them was that they seemed more personalized (even if they actually weren’t). The commuincation appeared as if it was directed towards me, not AT me.
I “fanned” a few people and started recieving emails about them making / posting comments. What I liked about these comments was that people weren’t trying to “sound smart”; these were individuals that were asking REAL questions about day to day sitautions and REAL things that affect our everyday lives. I had finally found a social network that not only “kept it real”, but also kept me interested. Unlike Linkedin, Brazen does not send out one mass bulk email everyday, but is smart enough to keep people engaged throughout the day by sending an email each time a comment is made or responded to. While I thought this would be annoying, I enjoy it. It only takes 10 seconds to glance over an email to see if you’re interested in the comments and it is a welcome break from the day to day monotony of “work”. At the same time, Brazen has become a kind of professional development tool for me as well.
So, I probably spend about 5 minutes each hour (sometimes 10) on Brazen doing nothing but having intelligent, intellectually driven conversations with like minded business people. While it is mostly “Gen Y”, there has been an uptick in the numbers of “Gen X” and “Baby Boomers” recently. Their experience combined with the ‘no fear’ / entreprenurial factor of “GEN Y” makes this site captivating; and I’m always learning.
I recently recieved an email (personalized this time) from Ryan Paugh, telling me I had won a scholarship from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. They had partnered with Brazen in search of the most “social” person. I knew my big mouth and blunt style would get me something someday ( ; Surprisingly, I got calls from several newspapers, but of course remained true to my Florida Gators and only spoke with the ALLIGATOR.
My point in telling all of this is not to ‘sell’ you on the idea of social media; but more so to inform those of you who continue to work or ‘play’ in this arena; I never applied for anything. I did not go out and attempt to get followers or fans. I write my blog for ME only and I use it as a release. But what the social media world is starting to recognize is that being YOU is exactly what we, as a society, need. No more corporate, politically correct doctrines…no more fake responses…but a reality. A world where we can say and do what we want. If people don’t want to listen, they can ‘de’ friend us or not go to our blogs…but for those who are listening – listen to me: Keep doing what you’re doing. Be yourself in all of your conversations and posts. You will get recognized. I did.