Give More and Get More out of Social Media

By Meyer, Marc | Communication World, November-December 2009 | Go to article overview
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Give More and Get More out of Social Media


Meyer, Marc, Communication World


With any social network, there is one thing that must remain consistent. It's conversation. In order for social media to work, conversations have to ensue, abound and be maintained. Not only that, there has to be a purpose to those conversations. To me it's always been about the connection through conversation.

According to The Cluetrain Manifesto, "The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media."

Why is that statement so significant? It's 10 years old. But it could have been written yesterday. What social media tools have really done is enable conversations in ways that we could only imagine a decade ago. Today, you know so much more about people you might connect with before you even make contact. If you don't know them, just Google them, right? But is that enough to sustain or nurture the conversation?

Texting has opened up communication for millions of people in ways that almost make e-mail seem antiquated. But social networks ask people to do even more. They're asking you to connect, to share, to create and to engage. Essentially they're asking you to be active, reactive and proactive conversationalists.

Does it work like that? Yes and no. Say you are on Facebook and all you do is look at great content--photos, videos and messages--and yet you never reciprocate; you just participate passively. Would that suffice? Perhaps, but you won't reap the true benefits of the network because you aren't nurturing conversation.

No social tool or network is going to be worth its salt if you don't adopt the mode of give-and-take. Passive participation does not fly in social media.

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Give More and Get More out of Social Media
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