Newborn Friends: Social Media and me
For 3 years now, I have been learning about what social media is, what actions to take, how to think strategically about using social media for my personal interests, as well as philosophizing about it’s impact on the larger cultural landscape. I’ve been comfortably lost in this strange new world into which, quite suddenly, I’d dropped. It’s been a progressive set of experiences involving a pathway filled with lots of play, experimenting and rethinking, most of which I’ve done with a good friend of mine, JessieX (as she is known in our local SocialMedia community.)
Reflection #1: It helps and it’s a heck of a lot more fun, to have a buddy to play with in this new territory.
Anyway, my interest, my skills and the realization that social media is the developing infrastructure for an emerging global culture continues to expand within me. I have recently taken on a leadership position with the Chesapeake Bay Organizational Development Network (CBODN) as a SIG (Special Interest Group) chair. It’s a geographic based SIG, focused on connecting people in the Howard County area, extending to Baltimore and Annapolis. The direction I am setting is one that is rooted in social technology and media applications.
The strategy is much like that my “buddy” and I used with American City Girls, which includes a principle of: expanding local relationships through social media. Translated that means, ultimately social media is CONVERSATION online to: communicate with each other, get know each other, and share and update each other on relevant information; while sponsoring local face to face social events- mainly coffee and cocktails at local establishments.
Why? So we can increase the opportunities to engage each other, which in turns makes it easier find our alignment to each other. If aligned, the increased engagement serves to deepen our connection. With a deep connection, we are more likely to collaborate… on something! Most networking groups I have been a part of consist of once a month meeting, structured around someone educating others, which is never consistently attended. They become sound bytes and slices of people over long spans of time. I think social media offers an attractive addition as a layering in and around what I’ve typically found in network associations.
The Balt/Wash SIG will organize around and focus on the domain of Organization Development. The SIG is open to others interested in social media as well if it seems useful to our mutual purposes. As chair of this SIG the job is to introduce members to the trappings of online conversations and create the support structures needed as they learn to navigating a new territory of interaction on their own, and , as an autonomous, dynamic and functioning (that means I expect that there will be something we can produce together) network forms.
My challenge is to lead people to a path so we, as autonomous practitioners in this domain, drive OD content through the infrastructure of social media, rather than social media content through the infrastructure of social media. Yet, to become embedded, which is where the greatest benefits are procured, I eventually realized, that a new mindset is needed to navigate this world. Thus, the content of social media is also an important aspect to the learning the process.
Reflection #2: The rules are different. You can’t take old thinking and ride it on top of this infrastructure and expect to succeed, or have fun!
The good news is there is a tremendous amount of content available about how to have a presence in the Web 2.0 landscape. You can learn this yourself. No money needed, just openness, time and motivation.
Reflection #3; It’s okay to be late to this party, it’s not one you want to miss, though.
The people to watch are the folks using social media to talk about social media. Novel idea, I know! It’s base camp one, if you will, a first stop on your way to acclimating to the environment. Connecting with the people who are using social media, creating content for it, and servicing the needs of the social media industry itself, is like hooking up with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, along the yellow brick road to the “Emerald City“, a metaphorical city of wondrous technology and wizardry. There are even lots ‘wizards’ or “rockstars, as they are called in the community, who’ve mastered the territory. Find them and follow them. We have several here in Howard County. If you are game to come out and play, be sure to check out what the local peeps are doing near where you live. And don’t limit yourself to these folks, find a couple of people you think might be only a half step ahead of you, reach out and follow them too. After all, it’s people under all this technology that is important, not technology by itself.
Reflection #4: The people are very social in the world of social media. Lot’s of invitations to dance at this party.
Below is a slide show created by Kevin Glasier which in my opinion is a nice “lay of the land.” If you click through Kevin’s link, you’ll see from his site that he is also in the business for that which he creates content. Selling, marketing, educating and building relationship all happen at the same, through authentic expression of adding value to those whom he engages. Whether or not I ever do business with Kevin is secondary. And look, I am leveraging his content on a site that is about me. The greater good to come out of social media is not only how it benefits me, but the added capacity for peer production. For me, this is living on an edge, where the greatest amount creativity and productivity is to be found, generating the collective benefits of social media through peer production. I was fortunate to get my lessons early on in my learning curve from Alex Rollin of Peer Producers, Inc. and I am still working on effective execution.
Reflection #5: Find yourself a good guide, and open your mind about intellectual property and copyrights.
And at the end of the day, it’s really about connecting with people you are interested in. Often that might be the people you know pretty well already. Again, its deepening and expanding the relationship we have with the people that are meaningful to us in some way that social media/technology amplifies. Maybe the truth is, the only people you care about connecting with are your kids. From everything I’ve seen about our current youth tells me this environment is where you’ll find them, today and tomorrow. Knowing how to navigate this world will help you, help them, and them help you. As JessieX and I talked about yesterday:
Reflection #6: The act of judging, of applying right and wrong, includes the perspective from inside. It’s a leap into what is happening now.
I have found my entire experience, thus far, to be very worth the jump.
(By the way, notice the application that allows you to post slide shows on web!)