Social Media: Some thoughts

Last year I was impressed by the number of experts on social media, whether self-proclaimed or genuine. It will be interesting to see how 2011 deals with the subject, especially as social media is evolving and constantly changing like one’s facebook profile. Here are some thoughts about social media as I reflect on what all the experts I’ve interacted with said.

Two schools of thought & a crowd
Social media seems to break into two camps: Those who point to something, those who have a presence in multiple things, and the masses.Those who point to something have a “base” from which everything else revolves. The everything approach people engage in multiple social media venues, but they don’t point in a direction per se. This school of thought is not a shot-gun approach, as there is consistency. However, it seems like a nation of islands. The crowd is those who sign up to connect with friends, see their grand kids, or other specific uses.

Consistency is king
Consistency is the key to developing social media. Some call this maintaining a consistent voice, but it also deals with frequency of posting, style, topic, etc. Voice and and the noble gravatar seem to be the main modes of branding now. As your following grows consistency becomes more of an issue.

Plan & systematize
Social media can swallow you whole, especially if you’re into social gaming aspect. Create a system and plan for how you will use social media. Doing this will set boundaries, build consistency and define what social media school you will follow. Planning doesn’t have to lock you in. It actually allows you to change easier.

Social media is public
Social media is a public forum regardless of how tight you set your privacy standards. Given the quasi-eternal remembrance of the internet, this is an essential to keep in mind. An often stated ideas is this: Politics will be interesting 10 years from now. While many social media status updates ask what’s on your mind, it best to filter that through your public voice. Seasoning your social media voice with civility and graciousness doesn’t mean you lack authenticity.

Be present
The biggest danger with social media users is they are not present where they are. Live human interaction is more important than social media at Starbucks. The world survived many years without social media. While smart phones makes social media instantly accessible, it isn’t more important than a live person sitting next to you.

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