Social Media – Information And Meaning

I have had the opportunity to have read some fabulous examples, where social media really does work. How to embrace social media in our work and the benefits of social media.

Having also had participated in webinars and live online training recently; one thing we cannot ignore is the power of social media to promote work you do as an expert, to network within our peer groups, and to gain knowledge.

The list of blogs are mounting. The rationale behind the use of social media being very similar. Information either shared for an argument or cause and then another against. The context and opinions being shared similar and yet communicated differently.

Two facts:
We are in the age of information. Knowledge shared, is all around us.

Experts are growing apace with varied opinions, views and eclectic interests (as social media experts convince us with our new found confidence!). The time to filter relevance is becoming more difficult, as social media booms with diverse media. Each blog and article shared more interesting than the other – enticing individuals to read and share.

Which brings me to the essence of networking.

When in a face to face meeting, the principles are interpersonal communications (old term) or influence and engagement (new terms) relevant for meeting success.

The information shared by an individual, as an introduction to what they do is either helpful to what you do OR you find ways to support the individual with a signpost – i.e. an individual who can help or requires that skill, information or knowledge.

So, I have recently tried to adapt the way I write on twitter with the aim of networking with peers; the following made me question relevance and purpose, in day to day working practice.

Information shared can be relevant and useful – for existing work or plans for the future.
Information shared is interesting, but will not support me in my purpose.
Information shared can be relevant for an individual online, to which I would signpost.

So, with the purpose of online lists:
There are probably millions of lists we either have created, or subscribed to.
Each one (as the experts share) important in 2 aspects – one that shares you as an expert to the world by the peers you are following; and one which allows you access to peers that hold golden knowledge and expertise.

Can we translate networking to online practice?
It becomes increasingly difficult to carve your ‘expert’ status online: As information online that you want to share, is probably already on the internet, via some professional body or community group. What you probably won’t agree with, is the way in which the information is shared i.e. language used (fit for sector formal vs application in real world informal).

It becomes increasingly difficult to tap into already warm, or closed yet established online networks.

It becomes increasingly difficult to raise your profile for your own work, unless you are already signposting and referring ‘expert’ knowledge blogs and articles to your own followers and peers or are supported by a guru. Traditionally, you will help friends by referring – the same should be applicable in the context of your work. If you have helped an individual; one might think the same would be true, when reciprocating support. True in some instances, but not in others. Where it won’t work is if your knowledge, experience shared online is not relevant for the individual or felt needed by online followers.

Online lists should be glowing references to your credibility and the expert work you do. It should be easy to know who is on the list you have created or subscribe to, who may find a referral of information helpful. It is about connecting the dots; which we all find difficult to do within the restricted time, pressures of work, and purpose in hand.

What is difficult to do IS connecting the dots! What is the real purpose of the list created, if we don’t know what purpose it has; or how we add value to what we want to achieve collectively – for the network we develop.

Social media input time and the realisation of goals:
Input time vs efforts vs outcomes vs IMPACT

For each of us, outcomes and the reasons why we are on social media will be different.

What we should try and avoid is the proliferation and duplication of information, networks and increase value of our networks – not just by engaging, but delivering impact.

Ideally, we should be sharing what is already out there and support experts, by adding your reflections and critical thinking. This would then enable others, to support and encourage useful debate and discussion.

Just because we have not hosted or been the originator of the discussion or topic, does not make us weaker in our opinions or views.
I am all the more for sharing. Constructing valid points of discussion from expert opinion or information shared.

Personal branding, does not just require us to initiate something that is already there. But to work with, support and add value to the work you do and more importantly to that of others. Getting recognised because you actually have connected the dots. There in lies the power of social media – connections means connecting the dots but also ensuring what we do has positive value and impact to what we serve. Curating is a difficult role – bombarded by excellent and interesting information daily, but if we cannot measure impact, through the work we do, then we are lost to unfocussed purpose.

A concern and yet an opportunity.
Knowledge Management term – sensemaking and organisational memory springs to mind. It may be that we have opened up a world of new terms or definitions – ‘network memory’ and ‘meaning’ – we ALL have a role to play in this, with social media.

A case of balancing what we know to what has been published, and what we don’t know to which we input – as information diversifies, without clear purpose and meaning.

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2 thoughts on “Social Media – Information And Meaning

  1. I enjoyed what you are saying here in particular around real/online – they aren’t separate – they connect and our engagement should be just as thoughtful in each –

    I think one thing that really adds value in the sharing space is critical thinker who synthensizes what they already know with the information they’ve read before they share it.

    One of the reasons I enjoy your feed is because I get that good summary at the start that gives me a cue as to what’s in the link but also your personal reaction – like READ – or star – so it mixes information with an emotional reaction – I often open your links based on that –

    • Thank you for your valid contribution. This is much appreciated.

      Part of engagement, influence and communications is to build rapport, trust and understanding of an individual and their strengths. Social Media stretches communication skills – it is becomes more important to build, support and influence, with professionals and individuals.

      From career perspective, it is a worthy skill to adopt and embrace: whether it is to showcase the various ways you have communicated effectively with others; built influence or supported change.

      From an individual perspective, it is a worthy skill to develop opinion, knowledge and understanding of trends, thought leaders and shaping your own ‘communication style’.

      Communication styles are key to your personal brand as is the way to express your personality and fit for the sector and community you belong to.

      I look forward to further blog updates on beyourwholeself and contributing.

      A beginning of a long informative and engaging professional relationship.

      Thank you.

      Prabhjit

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