What is social media? That seems like a fairly straightforward question. Then let me present a variation of that: why social media? Many people and companies suggest that they are “active” on social media, by which they usually mean they regularly post one-way communications via the big three (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; LinkedIn is a whole other day’s lesson). That is not social media, or at least, that is not the point of social media.
As its name suggests, there should be a social component of your interactions, or at least an indirect interaction. Does your post create interactions through the social platform or does it create new intrapersonal reflections? If so, you just might be social media-ing. Yes, social media is now a verb. Does your post lead to zero interactions, zero clicks on your link? You, my friend, are not social media-ing. You are talking inside a vacuum, a cold and lonely place that some could compare to my recent dating history. You do not want to live inside that vacuum for too long.
All social media personas do not need to have over 10,000 followers or receive 100 likes to be relevant. I only have a handful of Twitter followers, but I regularly interact with a far larger group on various topics. We are all connected in some form or another, and the many platforms out there help connect people more efficiently. I have met many interesting people on Twitter: comedians, business and community leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, and it continues to be an invaluable platform for information and access to a large network of interesting citizens of the world. These platforms also help make the world seem like a smaller place. I have learned a lot about the D.C. tech and entrepreneurial communities, and social media has been very helpful in aggregating this information into a more comfortable and interactive environment.
When some people hear “social media,” their brains immediately picture a young 20-something posting pictures from their weekend shenanigans; or at least that’s how it used to be perceived. Social media is so much more than that. It should be a component of many of your business’s strategies, and not an afterthought viewed as a separate entity from other communications efforts. It is another effective tool for marketing; it is not just a millennial dumping ground for the world’s great hashtags (#StevieDeepThoughts).
I created my steviedeepthoughts.com site to help enhance my web development skills, potentially to help prepare for a more formal website down the road if I launch a new business. I am using this site and other platforms to entertain, inspire and create new interactions with the many interesting and successful people out there and to learn about new ideas and causes that warrant my attention.
So, what is social media? Maybe I don’t know for sure, but I know what it shouldn’t be. Go out and interact to find out.