I learned about Facebook years ago sitting with some friends in the best Thai joint in Silicon Valley. I learned about a very early version of Twitter when a friend told me his immediate response to one of our larger-than-usual Bay Area earthquake was to tweet and check if all his friends were okay. I have written 509 blog posts on my personal blog over the course of five years. I already actively use LinkedIn, Chrome, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pandora, Spotify, Flipboard, Evernote, Latitude, Strava, and more.
So my reaction to Josh James insisting we at Domo become social-media certified was two-fold, and predictable: 1) Sweet, I love it!; and 2) I already do that stuff, so if anyone has questions I can guide them (somewhat condescendingly?) through the social maze. After a few weeks, here are some observations…
First take-away: I’m not the social badass I thought I was. In fact, I was actually a lightweight at leveraging the power of social media in one major area of my life. My #1 rule over the years was, be very careful about friending or connecting to current coworkers — especially a boss — on any platform. While there are some people for whom this is wise, I realize now that I limited my understanding of and communication with people with whom I spend the majority of my day. Adding coworkers to my social network has greatly expanded our understanding of each other, and through a collective feeling of I-got-your-back-friend, we’re getting more done on a lot of levels at work.
Second take-away: It’s easy to negate some of the greatest advantages of the best platforms. There’s a sweet spot in terms of putting good, relevant, and interesting information out there, but not overwhelming your network and diluting your message. Checking in on Foursquare every ten minutes, and notifying your entire network each time, probably softens the impact of that really insightful or funny tweet that came to you at a random moment. Alternatively, putting nothing up about yourself while lurking in the background makes you seem like some sort of creepy guy watching others from the shadows.
Final take-away: Don’t quit your day job. It’s very common to walk around the office now and see Facebook, Tweetdeck, or other social media unashamedly displayed on monitors. You’ll see them up on mine as well periodically. But pick your spots, please. Work still needs to be done, project deadlines still need to be reached, thoughts still need to be focused on business the majority of the time.
Kudos to Josh for inspiring us to expand ourselves as we expand our networks.