Who is your social media buddy?

Enjoying travelling companions

The idea of travelling companions has been around for centuries. People have always sought out mates to travel with for company or safety or simply to provide additional advice and counsel along the way. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

The social media journey also generates a need for travelling companions. This is ironic in a way because by definition social media connects us to many people, possibly in many different parts of the world. Aren’t these people our travelling companions? Well, maybe not.

In this context, I am referring to travelling companions as a few people close to us who can help with navigating our way through the do’s and don’ts of social media. This could be family members or friends who have been involved in social media for some time. In a business context, this might be a consultant or subject matter expert who can offer specific advice relevant to the business. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation, but in my social media experience I have found the need for these mates along the way for two reasons.

The level of support can be crucial

In the first instance, it is good to have a sounding board, especially if you are new to social media. The mate or the buddy can play a key role in easing you into the understanding and use of social media and can also help you avoid some of the pitfalls. Much of social media is fairly intuitive and can be picked up easily. Indeed, social media is so popular partly because it is easy to use. But there are some aspects of social media that need to be understood right up front, and having a sounding board for this is important.

One area where this is really important is in the setup. How you set up your profile on social media is crucial, especially the security and access settings. Most social media platforms have varying levels of access and security, and you need to understand how these work. Do you want your material or your participation to be more public or more confined? We have all heard people lament that they did not know their material was “going public”. A simple check of the setup right at the start might have saved them the anguish.

Secondly, social media is changing so rapidly that it is almost impossible to keep up with all the new features and sites. In fact, the dynamics here are quite complex. We often think about all the changes in social media but sometimes forget that we are also changing. The way we use social media changes over time and what we want out of it will also change. Our expectations can also change depending on family or work circumstances. For example, if a son or daughter moves out of country for work, the parents will probably form a different view of social media even if they were previously non-believers.

Some simple ground rules

 Whoever is your social media buddy, it is important to agree some basic rules for how the buddy arrangement should work. In fact, I suggest three key principles that should be agreed with the buddy:

Principle #1 – There is no such thing as a silly question

Principle #2 – There is no issue with repeating questions and explanations

Principle #3 – There will be some frustration or challenge along the way

In other words, the notion of the buddy is not just about meeting or having discussions. Rather it is about having a positive and learning dialogue over time to get the most out of social media, and to de-mystify some of the aspects of social media that may appear challenging.

Consider these points regarding your social media buddy….

  • Who have you used as your buddy (or buddies) on your social media journey?
  • How has the buddy helped build your presence and confidence in social media? 

The above is drawn from material contained in Matt English’s book Grasping Social Media available online at https://www.createspace.com/4678871

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