Learning to Live & Love Social Media

I’m almost ashamed to admit it.  Especially since for so long, I resisted having anything to do with social media.  I didn’t get it. I didn’t want to get it. After all, like everyone else, I’m busy with life. The last thing I needed was another “time suck”, especially one in the form of something I’d lived without my entire life…thank you very much!  Besides, I wasn’t even slightly interested in Facebook; I really don’t care who woke up with the giggles or what they ate for breakfast.  And I really didn’t understand the appeal of Twitter. Besides, what can you say in 140 characters or less, except to tell the world what you had for breakfast?  Furthermore, I sure as heck wasn’t about to “check in” and tell the world where I am at any given time. Like I’d think you’d care anyway!

Well…as I sit here writing this blog post, it’s pretty obvious I’ve taken the social media plunge. And I did it long before my lovely wife did. In fact, she still hasn’t even dipped so much as a toe in them thar waters.  It doesn’t look like she ever will. She’s a gawl darn holdout with no interest in having people all up in her business, while I admittedly continue to drink the social media Kool-Aid.  She’s perfectly content to get her “social” fix vicariously through me via Facebook posts I occasionally share with her.

But I’m not ashamed that I joined in the social games.  I’m not even sorry for that matter.  Social media platforms are where you’ll find more and more of the people these days.  So, if you want to play, be it socially or professionally, that’s where you need to be.

How did I get started, immersed even, in the social media world? It was pretty easy, actually. Once I realized it’s called “social” media for a reason, I started to get into a groove with it.  You’ll really only get out of social media what you put into it. That is, you need to make an effort to engage people, which requires putting yourself out there a bit, and on a fairly regular basis.  It takes some effort if you want to grow the number of people with whom you interact. My first step was to create a Twitter account. I thought of a semi-anonymous Twitter handle (@JohnnyBehave), which represents me and my true interests, even passions. These include things I am familiar with or that I arguably possess a certain degree of expertise in. My Twitter activity (Tweeting) started slowly but, with a little increased effort, gained some momentum. I’ve been able to slowly build a small following that continues to grow. But it wasn’t until I started following real people, not just celebrities and businesses, and started tweeting and responding to them, that things started happening.

Once the seal was broken with my first social media program, I began my dalliance into the world of Facebook. I must say, I’ve really enjoyed being able to quickly and easily catch up with old friends, classmates, and acquaintances, mostly from high school and college.  Then before I knew it, I was checking in on Foursquare (somewhat anonymously as Johnny Behave) and Yelp!  Yeah!  Check it out. I’m even blogging on Posterous for crying out loud!

Perhaps most importantly, I’m seeing the relevance and power of social media to businesses, marketers, and the world as a whole. As I’ve adopted it, I continue to enjoy learning the world of social media.  One might even say I’ve developed a passion for it!

But with all of social media’s good comes the bad and the ugly.  For me, that includes the inconsistent and often conflicting protocols applied to Social Mediaville.  The things people do and the ways in which they do them in the land of social media are as varied as the people themselves. Those various shades of gray provide more than ample fodder for several future discussions dedicated to rants, raves, and pet peeves about people’s online social media practices. Those are posts for another day…

For now, I’m “All In” when it comes to social media.  I’m not only living with it, I’m loving it!

But I still don’t care what you ate for breakfast!  Cheers!

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