Sunday, September 25, 2011

Social Media Mindfulness or 5 Tips for the Facebook Frustrated

As most of you know, I spend a good part of my spare time time moodling about on Social Media - blogging, posting, tweeting, linking in - sharing photos, ideas, recipes, tips and sometimes expertise (ahem)  - and connecting with friends and colleagues in my town and across the globe. I play some Farmville, comment on current affairs and endlessly discover online kindred spirits who share myriad interests (digital hugs to you all!).

Lately, many of my online friends - largely other middle-aged rurburbanites like me, (that's rural-suburbanites - I'm coining a new phrase) - are lamenting the recent changes to Facebook, and feeling bombarded by continually evolving and ever-expanding Social Media and technology options. (Why do I capitalize Social Media? I do not know. Perhaps I'll stop).

So I'm going to take a coach/geek approach and offer a bit of a framework for the Facebook Frustrated. (Yes, there are five points in the framework, but these are not the tips - those are still coming - settle in and read on).
  1. Social media is about relationships. Real ones. Realationships (coining another phrase!) 
  2. Like all relationships authenticity, engagement and listening are key. Positivity doesn't hurt, either. Experts agree.
  3. Choosing to use social media is like choosing to use any other tool. Pick the right one for the job. 
  4. Define the job. 
  5. Adapt as needed.
What's your purpose for using social media? For the sake of what?
For me, social media is about connecting, participating, supporting others to grow toward their goals and discovering new networks for shared expertise and passions. (Now, as you know, my passions tend to run in the direction of the quotidian, but still...).

I also have a 'Big A' Agenda. Which is all about personal transformation - the continual claiming of new territory for myself - increasing my range, expanding my scope, feeding my soul.

So I choose to use social media mindfully. With purpose and intention. With an eye on my Big A Agenda. So, here are my 5 Tips:
  1. Choose new tools when --- and IF ---- they interest you or move you toward your Big A Agenda and goals. New stuff can be edgy. Be sure it's worth it.
  2. Lean into your networks - on and offline, for help, advice, support. Find the conversations thatt matter to you. Listen to what the key influencers and your connections are saying. 
  3. Consider your resources - do you have the time, capacity, technology and know-how - and, more importantly, the DESIRE to engage in or learn a new system? (see #1)
  4. Align your use of social media with what is important to you and integrate with your existing personal and digital systems.
  5. Digital tools are changing all the time. You will never 'know' it all. Let me repeat that, you will never know it all. One more time. Never. So let yourself off the hook.

And, if you're getting frustrated, feeling overwhelmed or even a bit fearful - first, take a breath. Then make a plan.

Oh, and 'friend' or 'follow' me. I'm happy to hold your digital hand while you cross the edge.

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