Three Things to Know Before You Dive into Social Media
Interested in Social Media? If you are a parent, teacher or an entrepreneur interested in Social Media, but scared about the virtual Pandora Box it might open, then keep reading.
I do this post for those who are contemplating jumping into it; those who see their kids in it; those who interested in starting a business and those people are just interested in.
I sat at Starbucks talking to a group about Social Media last weekend. As I shared, I realized that there are many out there that use Social Media for different reasons. Most of my friends, use Facebook to connect with friends and family around the world. However there is movement now to use Social Media to develop your professional online persona. It is important for getting a job, a connection, a gig and more.
I feel it is important to share 3 things I learned about Social Media this year, since I have only really been on Social Media since September 1, 2013. I wish I had someone tell me these three things before I started.
1. Stepping Out is the Scariest Thing EVER, but Just Do It!
About a year ago, I ventured to check off one of my bucket list items, which was create a website and learn some coding. Ultimately it led me to Social Media. For me that included Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
It was scary to step out in September 2013 into the virtual world of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus community, as well as just connect with people through my website. To be honest with you, it felt at times overwhelming because it was like I was Gretel in Hanzel and Gretel eating this virtual candy house and interacting with all these people.
If you are wanting to start a business or build a resume, then be prepared to be overwhelmed, but I encourage you just to start. It is like dropping a raindrop in a bucket. It takes time to build a connection. I focused on four pathways at first, but now I primarily am on Twitter and Google Plus. For those educators out there, there are tons of #edchats on Twitter. Click here to learn more. These #edchats meet weekly or bi-weekly at a certain time (make sure to check what time zone you are in).
2. It is important to find your Virtual “Cheers”!
In a virtual world – there are virtual communities. Simplistic, but true.
In the old sitcom’s slogan of Cheers – “Go Where Everyone Knows Your Name”. It is so true online! Here is what I mean.
I learned quickly, that connecting with people was the key. And after 10 months of being a part of these virtual worlds, I believe that connections in person fuels a deeper connection online. It is easy for someone to disagree with you online and possibly say unpleasant things about you, but when the virtual world is on the foundation of a reality relationship then there is much more sustenance. I have had the privilege of connecting with several different communities through Google Plus and Twitter. Find some “real life” people and connect with them in person and in line. Make it important, to create a community of virtual and living people who support you and your cause. Connections make the foundation of virtual connections make sense.
3. The Virtual Billy Goats Gruff can make it to the Green Pastures!
Making sense and a purpose was important to me when I started this journey in September. Are you wanting to get to the green pastures across that virtual bridge? The green pastures meaning you are connecting with others, they are supporting you and you are gaining education and learning from each other.
Because I had only dabbled a bit with Facebook and Pinterest, I didn’t realize that not everyone was going to agree with me, and in truth I am going to stepping on other people’s virtual shoes. Kind of like exploring a distant country and seeing all these unfamiliar people that you are interested in connecting with, but they have different languages and different ways of life. Likewise, we all have different ways and motivations on being on Social Media.
I noticed very quickly that there is a ton of negativity under bridges around in cyberspace. Have you found that too? They are called “trolls”. You know the people who make a comment that it’s that nice, but they can do that because we don’t have a clue who they are. But, not only trolls but you’ll also see the so-called virtual “garbage” floating under your bridge and, for me I wanted to help clean it up.
After a little while, I started to focus in on Twitter as being a main social media connection for me. I think this was the place where I found the most meaningful connections. It was easy to see a tweet and then have it lead to some idea or message that could easily dampen my soul.
I decided to start a hashtag that could be a go to place for those who need encouraging and inspiring resources for their classroom and at home. The hashtag #projectinspirekids has really become a sanctuary for me and has been a wealth of quotes, articles, videos and posts that can stimulate interesting discussion with people, and specifically kids. Boredpanda.com and Upworthy.com are two websites that I find refreshment and I find some enjoyable inspiration through these portals. If I can use my website and virtual tools as stepping stones to help others inspire kids and be inspired then it was worth all the countless hours and money I have put into it.
If you are planning to start a business; connect with others; educate yourself through Social Media or just want to learn about it, then I hope these three thoughts will give you some beginning steps towards getting to those virtual beautiful green pastures.