Saying No To Social? 5 Reasons to Consider Saying Yes.

Originally published – June 15, 2013

I have a diverse and large group of friends. Somehow, it’s something that happened when we moved to Illinois last year. I’ve always had friends, but when we got here, we had a whole neighborhood to meet. Maybe it’s because the kids are older. When your kids make friends, the parents tend to make friends as well. Maybe it’s because the weather here is more inviting for outdoor living. Regardless, it’s been great to build these friendships with a variety of different people. It is one of the best parts about our move.

One thing I have noticed, however, is how several of my friends have rejected social media. It is like a badge of honor. I am almost teased for embracing it. And God help me if I update my status when the Blackhawks are on.  It all reminds me of this Toyota Commercial.

I get it. Our age group didn’t grow up with it like those a bit younger. It’s hard to understand why there are all of these avenues for self promotion, vanity and stupidity. The internet is a wild and dangerous place.

But I am on the other end of that argument. When social became a true tool, I engaged, learned and embraced. I was surprised when I learned that corporate social media was so much more than Facebook and Twitter. It’s millions of blogs, micro-blogs, page shares, specialty social sites and more. Shares, tweets, 1-ups, likes, comments, tags, check-ins, recommends and more. For businesses, it has become a necessity to monitor and interact in that world.

The forever stamp, to mail stuff.

So, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re good with social media. But if you’re like me and have some friends that renounce it with pride, print this off, put it in an envelope and use the US Postal system to send it to them. You will need a stamp. Get the forever ones because when are you going to need a stamp again?

At some point, people said, “Television, why get one of those? I have a radio.” or “Phone? Why would I want a phone? If I need to talk to someone I’ll send them a letter.” and others said “Cell phone? Why do I need to have a phone on me at all times?” Well, times they are a changin’. Here are a few reasons to embrace a little social media.

5. Your news how you want it and early. 

You can have a thousand friends, post what your eating for breakfast, and rant on every political or religious feeling you have.  Or. You can select to interact with people you know, you love, you respect, you care about. You can keep things private, limit access. You chose what to share, what to read, what to do. In essence, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever, is yours. A custom newspaper of words and images for you. And what’s more, Social is global and real time. I have heard almost every major news event in the last two years through social. Bin Laden killed? Twitter, well before the President spoke. Twitter was lit up after the Boston Marathon Bombing. The Zimmerman case? Facebook. Did you know that kid from Glee died over the weekend? Yep, Facebook.  If you choose not to participate, you are choosing to hear later in many cases.

4. Long distance relationships.

No, not steamy internet romances.Social media breaks down those geographic barriers for friends and family.Use it for keeping in touch with your mother, or your sister. Or your best friend from high school. This is a great big world, something I only learned recently. There are a lot of people I care about in Oklahoma and Alabama. I’ve got friends in family in Kansas, Arkansas, California, Thailand and Australia. I want to see how they are, they want to see how we are. I know, you say “pick up the phone and call”. But then life gets in the way. My best friend, who is like an uncle to my kids, refuses to get a Facebook account. Absolutely refuses. Made some silly bet about never getting one. So what does he miss? Every photo we share of our family. Every milestone we post. And he realized it. So he got an Instagram.

Hi Mom, I have a blog!

3. Sharing and Keeping Memories

Pick up your phone right now. How many photos are on it? 5? 10? I have 998 photos on my phone. That’s just on my phone. Now, pretend you lost your phone. How many of those photos do you have? Zero, right? Unless you have them backed up, you have lost quite a bit of captured memories. Facebook says users upload 350 million photos a day. Social media sites and cloud storage services are life savers for documents, photos and videos. Not to mention, sharing them with those you love. Every time my sister posts, I get to see my nephews grow, even those I’m a thousand miles away.

2. Work Wise

More and more companies are bringing a social component to their internal site. CEOs are blogging for their workforce, managers have chat rooms. There are shared documents spaces, knowledge management systems and employee profile pages. Jive, Spoke and Chatter are just a few that are taking social to corporate. You will have a heck of a learning curve and pretty poor adoption rate if you haven’t participated in social media for personal use.

Social for business allows organizations to capitalize on the the huge knowledge bank of the employees. It lets companies uncover trends and lets each associate feel a part of the larger organization. It takes time, training and encouragement, but it is a huge asset for the company and the culture. Hmm..this may be it’s own post someday.

1. Networking

Even if you are anti-social media, you should at the very least, be on Linkedin. You know networking is important, but now networking on the net is crucial. Looking to network in today’s business environment? Want to explore open positions, learn about new industries, connect with business clients and colleagues? It’s happening online, with or without you. LinkedIn has exploded, but also sites like Plaxo and Xing and ton of others are giving business professional networks.

All in all, find the right mix that works for you. Start small and do what your comfortable with. And should you choose not to have a digital thumbprint, I’ll respect that. But don’t think less of those who do. And I’ll try not to Facebook too much during the Blackhawks game!

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