I came across this post on LinkedIn today and thought it warranted a comment or two.
To preface what I’m about to say…this two-day old post quickly made its’ way around to me, even though I’m not directly linked to Brian, the originator of the post above (and inspiration behind this one). Of course given the social nature of LinkedIn, this shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise. After all, Deborah and I do share one common trigger link – Brian. And what did I do when I saw this come up in my conversation stream? You better believe I continued the conversation…and according to my math so far, Brian’s boss now owes him $5,036.00 and counting. Sure, that’s a few iPad’s worth of social media muscle, but what does this really say about LinkedIn as a professional tool and how we are utilizing (or sabotaging) everything that it has to offer? Could Brian’s boss be on to something here or did Brian just prove her wrong? After all, the notion of LinkedIn or any other social media tool being of tangible value to the user isn’t one that hasn’t been questioned before. Yet, what Brian’s boss isn’t seeing is that Brian has used LinkedIn to build a strong network. And not just any network, but one in which he has an audience that is willing to listen, engage and spread the word. The fact that he has a community that is completely immersed in his conversation says that he knows his audience, where they hang out, what they want to hear and who they listen to. Most importantly, Brian has the support and ongoing assembly of a social community. Wait a second, isn’t that what that value of social media is all about? But I digress back to the point Brian’s boss was trying to make and challenging her question. Being heavily saturated in the social world myself, I run into a lot of people with a hand and sometimes more to the face of social media. And every time I do, one word comes to mind – fear. The anti-social’s are afraid of the tools, the time it takes to invest and of course change itself. Yes, change is the road far less traveled. It is also much easier to sit on the outside and point the stupid arrow elsewhere than to dive in and learn the tools and speak from credible experience. And no getting your feet wet doesn’t count. To dive into social media means to drench yourself in everything it has to offer (and trust me, there’s a lot!) So the $5,000 plus that Brian’s boss now owes him has actually done nothing to provide him or her with value. What it did instead was increase the value of the tools, boost Brian’s community and who knows with all those iPad’s, maybe even qualify him for some frequent apple rewards program. So the moral of the story – don’t bet money until you really know what you are getting yourself into. Ok fine, there are two morals to this story. Invest the money, time and brain power to learn how to use social media tools. Doing so will not only provide you with priceless value in your own personal life, but also in the future of your professional life. How valuable are you making social media for you?