Cultivate the Positive

Cultivate the Positive

How can we make sure our time on social media is worthwhile? 

There’s a lot wrong with social media, but if it didn’t also have positive power, why would we even be here? Sure, I’ve spent time wandering in the Twitter wilderness and dragging myself through LinkedIn posts that never really delivered. What have I learned? The good I get out of my social feeds is directly related to how proactive I am about cultivating their positive potential. 

In spite of my being a reluctant social media user, here are a few things that I keep in mind. These ways of using social media make my time worthwhile and keep me coming back for more: 

1. A massive watercooler conversation. 
Social media is one of the greatest cultural discovery tools ever. Skimming important feeds can surface ideas that we cross-pollinate from one corner of culture to another. ZEESMAN can bring clients from different sectors fresh thinking from those intersections, like where women’s health meets civic engagement or where pharma intersects with supplier diversity.
2. A quick snapshot. 
A quick cruise through a client’s, colleague’s or influencer’s social feed is a snapshot of what’s on their minds. I get insights into their philanthropic interests or the passions that motivate their life and work. We don’t always have the face-to-face time that we’d like to have, and social feeds are a way to discover details that help us understand each other better on a human level. 
3. More sides to the story. 
Sometimes, I go narrow and deep, reading down into the comments and replies, where you get more sides of whatever’s being discussed. You see reactions from people who might never have spoken up in a different context. It’s a way of opening up a conversation using media that used to be only one-way. 

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How do you keep social media a positive force in your business? 

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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, and VP of sales for both a publicly traded broadcast communications company and an Internet startup. She has also served on boards for organizations focused on economic opportunity, diversity, public health and civic engagement. She is president and CEO at FIDGET. Email Bonnie directly at or call her at 323.658.8000.