Guest Column: Social state of mind
by Karen Richards
I was asked today if I live, breathe and dream social media and I hate to admit it, but I do.
My job at Mount Royal is to develop and implement strategic long term plans and best practices related to social media at the university, facilitate social media training for staff and manage the university channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and blogs.
But, over the past couple of years, I have become more and more active using social media for my personal life as well. Social media has literally changed my outlook and how I live my life.
It has connected me with like-minded people in Calgary and around the world, it has opened up my eyes to all the amazing events and initiatives going on day to day in our city, making me more active in the community and I appreciate and love Calgary more than I ever have.
In just the past year, I beefed up my LinkedIn profile to its full capability. As a result received several headhunting calls for positions in my field.
I used Twitter to get 60 people on a party bus for a Poutine Crawl event, had two of my blogs posts picked up by an online travel magazine, started tweeting for a local non-profit and when I became the Mayor of Bright Dental in Wyckham House on Foursquare they gave me free teeth whitening. Who knew?
The point is to use social media to enhance and bring value to you IRL (in real life) whatever that might mean to you. Whether it is for personal branding, getting a job, connecting with others in your industry, promoting your small business or just to have fun, I encourage people to find out more about the various social media platforms to see if any of them are a ‘fit’ with who you are and what you are looking for.
I like to say LinkedIn is the ‘office’, Twitter is the ‘water cooler’ and Facebook is the ‘happy hour bar’ of social media.
It isn’t all about what people had for lunch anymore (although I personally like to know what people have for lunch), you can get real inspiration and real results from using social media.
While social media is great for allowing you to become your own PR agent, remember: anything you post on social media is public, permanent and searchable by anyone. Imagine someone reading all of your tweets, Facebook and blog posts in one sitting — what impression would they get of you?
A good rule of thumb before posting (whatever the medium) is to ask if it could be taken the wrong way, is it slanderous, does it contain confidential information or is just in bad taste.
Where to start? Do some research, talk to friends and colleagues to see what they use, explore different social media options and choose one that is a fit for what you want to get out of it. And, have fun!