Social networks sites have become a big part of my life. At the end of November I thought it was a good thing to take some time off when it came to using social networks sites. I probably wanted to proof to myself and my family and friends that I wasn’t ‘addicted’ and that I could do easily without them. So I decided I wouldn’t be posting any updates on Twitter, Facebook and so on.
Heavy social media user
Of course, friends told me that they thought that I was being a ‘heavy social media user’. I always told them that it all was just one big experiment and that I enjoyed being part of it.
At first people started to disconnect on Hyves and Facebook, then on Twitter. Because they believed I was a heavy social media user. On Twitter I didn’t noticed cause I wasn’t able to actively ‘manage’ connections. I was just getting involved in conversations as they happened. And because not everybody is actively using Twitter or Facebook you don’t notice if somebody ‘unfollows’.
Proactive, Reactive, Interactive
I like to read a lot so I am always looking for new articles to read online. Twitter is a great tool to read more on a topic that I am interested in. I use “Searches’ to find new information about a topic quickly. So if I am looking for the latest information about the climate conference in Cancun, Mexico; I set up a search on Twitter and I will know what is happening. I also like to share what I read so I either re-tweet or I bookmark it and let the booking marking site share it for me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. So if I am reading a lot I’ll be posting a lot.
I like to actively ask questions and give answers to my network. I used to do that for a client or just to give and share knowledge to those who need it. And because I do so actively I rather easily get an answer to questions I ask. Either by a direct answer through Twitter, LinkedIn or by a private message. A ‘thanks for sharing’ just gives a nice feel. Do good feel good. (Slogan Pifworld).
Not updating social network sites
Not allowing my self to update social networks sites hasn’t been easy. And I have to admit I wasn’t able to do without entirely. I did bookmark articles to Delicious and to update my profile on LinkedIn. I sometimes liked an article or community page on Facebook. I wasn’t involved in any discussions or was acting as an heavy user, but still I was using the sites. And I for sure I was using Twitter to stay updated on new jobs, information about topics like sustainability, social media and so on.
A strange feeling
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind spending a little less time online. Or not be reaching to my mobile everytime I entered a new location, posting a photo etc. But it was strange not to use social network sites to engage in discussions, share links and knowledge, update my network on my activities and especially important use social media to find a job. Especially after making the decision to close up shop. I felt a need to update my website (old website can be found here), post it to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. After that I returned to being silent again. Only ‘liking’ a few articles and..
Being social online
Social network sites and communities brought me more knowledge and joy in 2010. It was great to ‘meet’ so many interesting new people online. It was even better to see a lot of those people at different events in The Netherlands. I wouldn’t wanna miss out on meeting new people online and offline.
Social networks connect existing communities (friend groups, professionals groups etc.) and add extra value to those communities with the exchange of content (blogs, tweets, videos, podcasts etc) and comments to content. You meet people, talk to them through email, chat, status updates and tweets. I think it is a great way to stay in touch, get in touch and connect. Bringing new friends, strenghtening existing friendships and by sharing information (links, videos, pcitures and podcasts) get you smarter too). That’s why I can’t do without social networks. It has brought me a lot more people that I can relate to and increased my knowledge.
Know how to use social media
Although I have been using social networks for sometime and know a lot. But I am still learning. Everyday new startups start new sites and increase the number of tools and gadgets you can use. You don’t have to be everywhere, you don’t have to be a proactive user on all networks. Watch and learn. Try things and make mistakes. And above all: ask questions to your network and expand your network. Don’t worry about privacy! Do something about it; read about it and get your settings right in the way you feel comfortable with. Don’t act any differently online as you do online and tell me after a year: can you live without social networks? I am sure that social networks will enrich your life too.
Merry Christmas and a ‘social’ 2011!
Stay tuned, subscribe to my sites feed and I will keep you posted on my activities and share my experiences about social media, communities while using online marketing and communication for people, planet and prosperity. From tomorrow I will be back online check out the sidebar on the right for contact details!
Show others what and who you care about in 2011