Making Sense of the Stream

Making Sense of the Stream

How can we keep up with the (c)rush of social media?

I grew up in the era of pen and paper. I like the relative fixity of that media. The fluidity of social media has a whole different sensibility. LinkedIn is a business-casual conversation, while great Twitter sometimes feels closer to a semi-conscious blurt. In both cases, it’s written language that gives the impression of speaking. 

I used to think I should be able to “master” social media. In the last decade, countless handbooks and so-called definitive guides have been written, aimed at people like me who were looking for a set of set-it-and-forget-it rules. But social media is evolving by the day, and the only way to “master” fluidity is by embracing a mindset that can go with that flow. 

I’ve let go of the goal of mastery, along with the expectation of many nuances in social media. I sometimes find considered takes on LinkedIn, but social media is built for churn and speed. It’s not optimized for in-depth conversations, so I look for links that take me to those deeper takes I need—in a hyperlinked article, downloadable document, video, blog link or in a forum.

I also accept that there’s no way to read and see everything. FOMO (fear of missing out) was a full-blown cultural trend a few years ago, in no small part because of the volume of information we can’t possibly take in. I’m grateful to colleagues who draw my attention to useful posts with @ mentions. I also look at hashtags to see how posts from different sources add up to a collective mind-meld on a topic. Making sense of the constant stream is a constant effort. It’s a lot more fun when I remember to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. 

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Question:

What’s the best practical tip you’ve ever gotten to make your social media presence more effective?

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About the Social Media for the Reluctant series:

People assume that because I’m a marketer, I’m a natural at social media. Spoiler alert: I’m not — and I know I’m not the only one. Over the last decade, we’ve seen social media become an important way for businesspeople to raise their profile, promote their skills and share their thought leadership. Establishing this personal brand is part business and part personality — and the line between can get blurry.

But the skills that make for successful face-to-face connections don’t always translate to LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or other social feeds. This series is for anyone who, like me, is sometimes a reluctant social media user.

Bonnie Nijst
Written by Bonnie Nijst

Bonnie Nijst has been a wire service bureau manager, VP of sales, and a board member for organizations focused on economic opportunity, public health and civic engagement. She is president and CEO of FIDGET.

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