“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
~ Stephen Hawking
I have a confession to make: I am BOTH a Social Media AND Knowledge Junkie! Why do I say this? Well, self reflection has forced me to discover that I have started to care what people think and have been taking things personally.
That, or I need to get a full time career going where my thirst for knowledge and ideas is fueled by having direction and an itinerary for my day. BUT (strong but) the two go hand in hand. Social Media is a platform that creates the sharing of information, literary, creative and inspirational messages. The limitless access to talent from across the globe is like a flashing beacon sucking in to its sphere and the helpfulness side of my nature, drives the need to seek and share content to help others.
Ego and pride can interfere with all the best intentions. I've always considered Social Media a mental attitude of "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine." Ultimately, I scratch others by sharing and have fallen into the pit of expecting the same thing.
Two great sayings come to mind: "Practice the Golden Rule" (treat others as you wish to be treated yourself) and "Make new friends, but keep the old as one is silver and the other gold". Add a Blog to the equation and you find yourself with a soap box to stand upon and preach from in the form of expressing your opinion. If you already fall into the trap of being opinionated, you can be swept into the cloud of the dark side of Social Media.
Ironically, there is drama. Often I've thought to myself that Social Media drives you back to high school where the opinions of others influence you and you need to stay disciplined to avoid falling into that trap. I've done my best to stay clear of the drama with the best intentions, however, by expressing an opinion, you can easily become feeling victimized when not everyone agrees. If you put yourself out there, you have to expect that not everyone is going to agree. If you're really discriminating on who you associate with, your friends and followers fall within the boundaries of those you call "friends". However, keeping loyalties to family and true life friends present conflict with the ones that are social media savvy and are more expressive.
You truly are the company you keep. Try to keep yourself surrounded with those that inspire, motivate you by their messages and those that fuel your thirst for knowledge.
Twitter is like a gigantic newspaper: you read the headlines and click on anything and everything that attracts your interest. No longer are you restricted to your local media (yet it is important to do so if you like to keep up to date). It is like a fast moving reel of what is going on in the world at that precise moment. You identify with an addiction to knowledge when you find out something is happening in the real world, and go to Twitter to see if it is trending as if it validates that it is important to everyone else. It has power. It gives voice to the voiceless. It stimulates the causes that need attention.
Facebook is where you can more intimately interact with others and uncover better insight into the personalities of people. It is often used for select friends and family. I admit, I have two identities: one for my social media and the other for my close knit of friends and family. If you have young adult children, you would understand why I do so. I want to protect their privacy and not throw them into the social media world where there is an abundance of people and opinions. Quite frankly, they may not be interested in that world. I let them join my social media world as an option, I try to avoid my soap box and curate good content that is relevant to them and personalize the experience there.
Google Plus allows me to frame my circles and although labelling is a bad trait, it can be used constructively. I have circles of photographers, artists, thought leaders who stimulate me visually and emotionally and are grouped specific to the content that it is surrounded by. The Group feature is really cool because you become immersed amongst people that share the same interests. Valuable if you have a specific query on technology, design as a source of education and knowledge.
Pinterest has become my visual, creative stimulator and where I curate what I think are amazing. I gravitate and relate strongly to the Photography and Art boards. When I need creative inspiration, it is just a click away. Like anything you enjoy, you tend to become quite good at it. I love the visual stimulation that talented imagery provides. It is really cool when you are invited to share on to boards, as reinforcement that others like what you see or think, as what you PIN tends to define who you are. It is far below being used at its power in marketing, in my opinion. I find myself congratulating others who have discovered and manipulated to communicate their brand. Not surprising that it is considerably geared towards the female audience because it is often considered that women are more visual than men. However, some of the best graphics, artistic and technologically oriented men are using it to share their inner creative side. Seriously, where can you host all your dreams in one spot? Goals are what makes us reach out to make ourselves better and reach farther. If you are consciously capturing this, you are creating intuitive understanding of what motivates and floats your boat.
InstaGRAM is what I use more personally again because my kids, family and their friends are there and again I want to protect their privacy. As a parent, Facebook used to be where you could get a sense of where your kids were at, but InstaGRAM usually shows you and with whom they're with. I haven't tried SNAPChat but know it is popular among the younger set who think (and they probably do) what they're up to, where and with whom. I'm discovering that there are others that share great visual content and inspiration in the ease and immediacy that these platforms allow. I'm fooling around a bit with Tumbler, Stumble Upon and Reddit similarly but not as loyally as the aforementioned.
Now it gets dicey when you start to up your social media culture and influence when you start looking at KRED and KLOUT -- third party independent measurement services that combine unique algorithms.
(WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithm) based on your social media usage and followers to determine what kind of influence you have on the internet. I will set this aside for another post, yet just say that there may be some political influence or strengths of one over the other when one increases your score while the other stays static while it is measuring the same activity. Peer Index is another one and there is even another that provides your standings based on your geographical location.
WIKIPEDIA is always there if you need to uncover something quickly. There are other sites like "Ask How" that you can find yourself lost in yet wonderful sources to punt you into research mode. Knowledge is power but it can become dangerous if you tend to take things personally. Everything should be taken with a grain of salt to be sure.
LINKED IN is where I started on Social Media and where I usually start and end my social media day. Particularly if you're job hunting, a recruiter, or use it to exchange business contacts. There are again, groups on topics, industries, companies, employers that allow you to maneuver around in. It is THE perfect spot to centrally host your contacts and document your career. Recommendations are awesome and Endorsements are fairly new. How people use them is unique to each character. I personally only try to Endorse those that I've had direct contact or interaction on the subject matter.
Avoid Junior High School HI-jinx if you're in a group and dropped out or not included. Refrain from Social Media if you start to care and you think of it outside and when you're off. Consistency is key and you don't have to spend as much time on it as it sometimes appears. Obviously, some people are growing reputations as Social Media, Branding, Content Marketing experts and they may seem more active than others. However, 10-15 minutes in the morning, over lunch and early evening are key times and really all you need.
If you're in politics, marketing, leading a business, looking for investment, establishing a reputation -- you may need Social Media more than others. However, like all things good for you (and bad) moderation is key!