In this blog-alogue we’ve been talking mainly about the why of social media. Why it’s important, what you can do with it. There seem to be new social media tools emerging every day. My question is about getting started. I began with blogging. Is there another way to get started with social media? What do you need to know about yourself to get started with these tools?
Not only do new social media emerge every day, but existing ones seem to morph almost as quickly. In the world of online social networking, something is always changing, usually in response to issues raised via social media by its users!
Such changeability highlights the importance of making discernment a component of getting started. Self-awareness and deeper self-knowledge is as valuable in this domain as it is in the rest of life. The more you know about yourself, the better you’ll be able to choose among social media. I recommend people new to social media – and anyone feeling at an impasse – make time to explore these issues:
- How do you best receive and retain information? Are you a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner?
- What’s your favorite mode of communication? Are you more likely to pick up the phone or write a letter or e-mail? Are you long-winded or brief and to-the-point?
- How do you feel about groups? Are you energized by interacting with lots of people or do you prefer observing and listening? Extrovert or an introvert?
- What’s your tolerance for technology? Are you eager to explore online options or do you wish it would all disappear? Are you willing to learn or happy to let technology pass you by?
- How do you typically find God in your life? Are you engaged primarily at a sensory level or a cognitive one? If both, then in what proportion?
These are questions I ask whenever people tell me they’ve tried social media and it didn’t work. Without fail, I quickly discovered they’ve chosen a social media tool that’s incompatible with how they typically engage with the world. No surprise, this disconnect shows up in other ways and places. Please ask me about why I insist virtual community is real community.
Know thyself . . . and choose social media platforms from that vantage point. It’s a great way to get started without getting stuck.