Social Media: An Acronym

Social Media: An Acronym
for Learning & Sharing

Sign up.  Start.  Share.  It all starts with doing and sharing.  Sign up for a Twitter account, a Facebook page, LinkedIn, Digg, Flickr, WordPress, StumbleUpon, Blip.fm..."What the heck are all these things and how do I use them?"  Good questions.  Would take too long to go through all the details and nuances of each -- best that you sign up, start and share.  You'll learn most by doing.
O  Observe.  Observe what others are doing.  Identify those in the network you enjoy and figure out what it is they are doing that makes the experience with them so enjoyable so that you might emulate some of their winning ways.
C  Conversation and Content.  These are "social" networks.  People come here to share.  So do.  Converse.  Ask questions, share a thought, share a moment, but always remember that "Content is King."  "What does that phrase mean?"  It means that we are all thirsty for new information, to learn new things, to see cool stuff - so find it and share it.  It's okay to tell us when you've enjoyed a great meal or a nice coffee:  but don't make that the substance of your stream -- unless you're a distinguished chef.  Instead, hit us with your great aunt's best recipe for egg rolls or a link to great, truly awesome pictures.  We'll appreciate it and share it!
I Individuality.  By all means, be yourself!  Share who you are.  We want great content, but we also want to see a bit of you as well.  Our greatest experiences always revolve around others, the PEOPLE we meet.  We'll trust you more and like you more if you show some of your passions and personality. It'll make your experience, as well as ours, more enjoyable!
A  Accept.  Accept that you're going to make some mistakes.  Accept that not everyone is going to like you.  Accept that you'll see and hear a lot of nonsense along the way.  "Accepting" doesn't mean agreeing, it simply means to understand certain things will happen that you may not like or be able to control, but don't let it detract from all the wonderful  experiences and benefits of social media.
L  Listen.  Didn't we already cover that with the "O" for "Observation?"  No.  "Listen" is different from "Observe."  "Listen" contemplates engagement and conversation.  By listening in social media we really mean active listening that is the starting point of great conversation.  Pay attention to what others are saying -- not just about you, but about themselves as well.  Listen for insights into how you might be a better participant in the conversation or network.  Listen for the tenor of the conversation as well as the words.  Pause along the way to make sure you're still listening.
M  Modesty.  "'Modesty' on a social network?  You're joking, right?"  No.  I realize that for many the notion of social media and modesty may be an oxymoron, but it should be something you should constantly be mindful of as you gain confidence in your presence.  Regardless of how comfortable you may begin to feel with your network, bear in mind that in most cases you are still broadcasting to the world -- literally.  Oh it may be a conversation, as all good social media is, but, let that one moment get out of hand and your rant or picture or video will likely get bounced far beyond wherever you hoped it would land, and your world may change in big ways.
Another element of modesty is acknowledging those, whenever possible, who first shared with you the content you are sharing.  This will reap its own rewards in deepened connections and added sharing.
E  Enliven!  Enliven the conversation!  See a message from someone asking about something that you may have the answer to?  Let them know it, even if it's just a helpful insight.  Share what you have.  You will make new connections in the process of enlivening the conversation.  Stumble upon something particularly helpful or interesting, share it.  You have much to bring to the conversation!
D  Don't...  Don't forget the basics:  consideration, compassion, caring, politeness.  Coming to social media to have fun and maybe do a little bit of learning?  What you'll discover and remember most are the wonderfully caring and compassionate people you'll meet along the way.  Be one of them.
I  Invite.  Invite questions, comments, suggestions, help.  Invite others to discover the great things you've discovered.  Invite others to share their insights or tips.  Invite others to join you on your wonderful journey -- you'll need and want them along the way!
A  Arrive.  Arrive at where you want to be, but don't stop the journey or conversation.  "Okay, that sounds kind of cool and campy and crunchy, but what does that mean?"  It means to set goals.  Add to them and change them along the way.  As you do, and work on achieving those goals, you'll find yourself arriving at where you wanted to be.  Just don't linger too long because we're meant to keep learning and conversing and striving for new goals.  Social media is a wonderful place to do all three.
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