I suspect the majority of people who use social media do so because of the relationships it fosters. The real-time connections you can have with anyone, anywhere with people you see every day and those you haven’t seen in decades makes it an incredibly convenient and potentially beneficial medium.
Where I see the medium suffer and become frustrating for many is when people cease to use it primarily for relationships and try to use it for more self-serving interests. For example, one such abuse is when a business jumps into using Facebook or Twitter and mistakenly thinks all the world is just waiting for them to talk about their latest products or services, attempting to sell them more things. News flash: the world isn’t waiting for your business to do that.
Another abuse is when individuals forget to focus primarily on the people they are connected with and, instead, start sounding some constant horn that others will quickly tire of hearing. In this season of politics nearing an election, some mistakenly think others care to see their political posts daily or multiple times daily. While everyone has the right to post as they see fit, they ought to use a little judgment and focus more on what builds relationships instead of what divides. To that end, I am limiting myself to one partisan political post per week now through the election, although I will “like” or comment on others’ posts as I see fit.
In a discussion today at work, I shared with my team that one reason I like managing our corporate Twitter account is because of the potential for one-to-one interactions with others – responding to a customer or encouraging someone in their movement to well-being, even exchanging some humorous banter from time to time. Those brighten the day of sender, receiver, and probably others listening in as well.
Social media isn’t primarily for marketing, although it can bring business value to a company. It isn’t about individuals having a platform to force their ideas on others. It is about building relationships, making the world a little smaller, learning, and finding new ways to help others.
Leap year lesson #271 is Social media is about relationships.