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Do you agree?

With my new-found Twitter account (after years of stubbornly refusing to give in), @ErnestReeb is now a place for me to share information I find interesting or useful.  My question to you; do you care?  In the world of Social Media, are we overloaded with ‘useful’ information?  Is it overdone?  Is it just another venue for advertisement?

In my observation, the world of social media — now wonderfully interconnected with pictures (#Instagram), text messages (#Twitter), videos (#YouTube), personal history (#Facebook), live trending (#Pinterest), and career networking (#LinkedIn) — means different things to different people.  Some welcome the opportunity to iterate every second of their lives.  Some take the chance to retaliate against a company they feel cheated them out of a quality product or customer service experience.  Some seem to use it for illustrative purpose, exposing the extent of their mindshare on a particular topic.  Still others seem to enjoy social media channels more voyeuristically – appreciating the opportunity to candidly stay updated on endless current trends and events without actively participating.

Take a second – think about your answers to these questions; post a reply if you like:

How do you use social media? …what channels?

Do you think social media brings us closer together…or further apart?

*Do these tools help to create a more sustainable society…or less?

Could social media channels be more useful?

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17 Comments

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  1. Susan Keohan

    Hi Ernest, and welcome to Twitter!

    I have a Twitter account (@skeohan), LinkedIn, and Facebook.  Of all of these, I use Twitter most.  I use it to stay in touch with friends and news.  I follow many people on SCN, and have been able to say I have formed relationships this way.  Very social, very rewarding relationships.  My use of FB and LI is an afterthought.  If I meet someone that I can’t find on Twitter, I will try FB or LI.  But I don’t post in those places often, and only go to browse infrequently.

    In my experience, I will hear from long-lost co-workers via LI – usually when they are looking for work.  I have recently been getting ‘endorsements’ from people on LI, but I am not sure what the real value is, or why someone I have not spoken to in 25 years would endorse me. 

    Now I have to go locate you on Twitter 🙂

    Sue

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    1. Ernest Reeb Post author

      Thanks, Susan

      Interestingly, I find LI and FB to also be more of an afterthought.  FB would be my tool for keeping in touch with friends I would have otherwise (in the past) simply lost touch with because we wouldn’t have the need to communicate often enough to stay close.  LI becomes the tool to keeping track of all of the work-related relationships built over the years, most often within the same context at FB; relationships that may have otherwise been lost due to infrequent communication.

      I am curious to discover how I will really use Twitter.  Do you have more than one account that you use to separate work and personal; or do you tend to just set the expectation that your ‘tweets’ may converge the two?

      It seems, for you, the social medium are simply an extension of your non-virtual social life and that they actually may improve your relationships by allowing you to keep in touch with folks you might have fallen away from.

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      1. Susan Keohan

        Hi Ernest,

        Anyone who follows me knows what to expect.  I tweet about my kids, my dog, my SAP stuff, and on occasion, an opinion!  I had thought to separate the work from the life tweets, but since it’s not possible in real life, it seemed ridiculous to try to separate them on Twitter.

        Sue

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  2. Steve Rumsby

    I think Sue pretty much said everything I would say:-) Mostly Twitter, a little Facebook, as little linkedin as I can get away with, but I would add Google+ to the list.

    I do think social media can bring us closer together. I have made friends on Twitter, some of whom I haven’t yet met. I know people in many places in the world where, in an emergency, or even not in an emergency, I could turn up on their doorstep and they wouldn’t turn me away. Again, in some cases, such an event would be our first meeting.

    And because social media builds community I do think it helps with sustainability. I have lent things to, and borrowed things from, people I wouldn’t have known were it not for Twitter. In such cases purchases have been avoided, and therefore ultimately, waste has been avoided. I have passed on things I no longer have a use for, again to people I wouldn’t have otherwise known.

    Steve (@steverumsby)

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    1. Ernest Reeb Post author

      Steve,

      Interesting that you have developed such close friendships with “purely virtual” contacts!  I’m not sure I expected that.

      What is it about Google+ that you find adds value that other medium like FB and LI miss?

      Regarding sustainability, certainly promoting a more connected and robust social atmosphere goes a long way toward improving the sustainability of society as a whole (check out some of the more ‘social’ KPI’s in our SAP sustainability report) and from the sound of it, you have not only been able to keep your traditional relationships but also add new ones.  Of course doing all that while reducing waste is a great side benefit 🙂  

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      1. Steve Rumsby

        Most, but not all, of my virtual-only friends are actually in the SAP world. SAP folks are such a friendly bunch 🙂 One of the things that fosters the development of such relationships is using a single Twitter account for both work and non-work purposes (to answer a question you posed to Sue above!). Being able to talk about hobbies, pets, music, gadgets, or whatever builds relationships, and ultimately friendships.

        As for Google+, I find it technically better than Twitter for hosting conversations, as the threading is easier to keep track of. There aren’t enough people there to make it work, currently, for me, though.

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  3. Stephen Johannes

    Personally for me the reason why social media is useful is that the tools are easy and the network or critical mass of who is there.  However the big mainstream tools are not the only places for this activity.  There are many other places where people go for specific social sharing on topics and that hasn’t changed.  I just think the major ones are where we go for “everyone” vs finding the “geeks” on a topic.

    I tend to treat channels differently in terms of how they are used.  Facebook is more for close friends and family.  Twitter is a combination of work interests to interact, personal interests to follow and quick sharing for thoughts.  Linkedin is definitely a “work” network.  Most of the other ones I consume and don’t create content for.  I guess personally I don’t cross-post content between social media channels except for a few occasions.

    I think social media tends to both separate us and bring us closer at the same time.  The danger with social media is that we can tend to lose focus on those around us physically and can focus more on those within our virtual circles.  I do see sometimes that social media gives us an out from making those in-person interactions that would be required locally if we did not have other ways to connect.  In addition I think it tends to push us towards more of a monoculture.  Even though we can connect with other people who don’t share our interests, we naturally start to move towards an extreme segmentation of interests.  As much as I can say I have met many people different and unique from me, I have met a lot more who share my interests. 

    Yep the tools could be more useful and as people use them more we will make them more useful.  My favorite comment about the tools is that almost everything we are doing today with social media could have been done manually in some fashion back as early as 1998 easily.  The difference is that the time to share and spread the information would have taken much longer along with the cost.  The greatness of the tools today is you don’t need to be a programmer to share.  That’s what makes the tools awesome is the fact they tore down all the barriers to entry beyond needing a computer and an internet connection.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Ernest Reeb Post author

      Stephen,

      I suppose I will still go to the local hardware store if I have a question about how to re-mount the mailbox on my house.  Is that an example of the ‘traditional means’ you are referring to?  The coffee shop, computer store,..etc?

      Interestingly enough, one of the things that prompted me to post this was that my sister canceled her iPhone (literally, phone, data..the whole 9-yards) and got out of FB and Twitter just as I was getting more into it.  For her, she began to see it overtaking her life and she would tend to tweet, re-tweet, or post something almost constantly.  I was always curious whether people were constantly reading it or if it was just one-sided; amazingly, she had a large number of followers. 

      I still don’t understand that level of engagement, but I do see people walking around everywhere with their heads stuck in their phones.  It makes me smile to imagine that a modern-day Godzilla might just as likely go unnoticed…unless, of course, it came with a Twitter broadcast!

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      1. Stephen Johannes

        I was actually talked about topic specific message boards, e-mail, chat and other channels that aren’t part of the big social media sites.  SCN is one example of an experts community that is beyond the mainstream social media channels with a limited scope.  If you follow some of the experts on social CRM, they talk about the key to social media is going where the conversations are and not just going to facebook/twitter/google+/linkedin/etc.  That’s what I’m talking about in general.  However you are right there are still in-person places to get advice, although a lot of us go to the “expert message boards” for answers.

        I want to say that smartphone use can go from addict to occassional use.  I also don’t get the whole crazy spend everything on the phone, but I also dont’ see going cold-turkey either.  Personally I think it is like everything that needs a balance.

        Take care,

        Stephen

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  4. Ralph Paczkowski

    Hi Ernest,

    I don’t use any of the these social media. Why, I just don’t see a reason to do so. As Sue wrote, she tweets about her dog. Well, I sure hope her dog is doing fine, but basically I don’t care. The same is true for me: I don’t think myself so terribly important that I have to tell all the world what I am doing and what is happening to me. I simply have no use for twitter, FB or any of the like. And if I want to make new friends, I go out to actually meet people in RL.

    Now, some people may call me oldfashioned, I guess it shows that I am not a digital native, but then that’s just me.

    Ralph

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    1. Steve Rumsby

      Hi Ralph.

      Social media isn’t for everyone, and even amongst those who do use it there are degrees of use. Not everyone tweets about their dog. Many people tweet just about work-related things and keep their personal life entirely to themselves. Choosing the right people to follow takes some experimentation so that you get the content you want.

      I actually started out on twitter just like you. I used it for a few weeks, saw no value, and then stopped. It wasn’t until 6 months later that I was inspired to give it another go. That inspiration came from a group of people at a conference. Many of them had never met before, but they all knew each other and picked up in real life conversations they’d been having over twitter. That’s when I saw the potential of social media. In the 4 years since then, I’ve seen that potential realised. It does take work, and it is as much about what you give as what you get.

      As for you not being so important that you need to tell everyone what you are up to, you may be surprised. I use twitter very much like Sue, co-incidentally also tweeting about my dog from time to time, and often I think I wouldn’t follow me! However, lots of people seem to find my tweets interesting. That’s based not just on number of followers but on how many people reply to my tweets. Even the ones about my dog:-)

      I’d encourage you to give it a go sometime, perhaps following a few people form the world of SAP to start with. It may not be for you, but you might be surprised. I’m glad I gave it a second chance.

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    2. Ernest Reeb Post author

      Great points, Ralph – and ones that I have certainly shared!  That said, I have always been under the opinion that, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right.  Since last week, when I got into Twitter, I have made a few observations:

      1) As Sue mentioned, LI is more typically used as an afterthought – for networking, contacting a colleague, customer, or other business associate that you have long since forgotten.  Due to the sensitive nature of many of my close LI contacts, I do not even share the contacts with my contacts (yes; that’s a ‘thing’).

      2) FB seems to be quite a different thing…and mean different things to different people.  If FB is your only, or main, social media stream, it seems to be more widely used to both build relationships and provide daily (even hourly?) updates.  Still others seem to use it as a personal form of communication – sharing more intimate life details with closer friends…etc.

      3) Twitter, on the far other end of the spectrum, seems to be about 2 things; (1) getting information FAST, and (2) filtering the vast array of available information down to only those things which interest you.  “Following” someone (or some organization) on Twitter is like finding a friend with a certain strength or knowledge base.  If you are interested in birds, you may follow the twitter account of an Audubon society and those of a few different people who are into birding.  In this way, you see what they post about the topic and you get up-to-date information without having to filter through the entire World Wide Web to determine what is actually interesting to you.  Similarly, people follow you because something of interest to you is also of interest to them – they are using you as a filter.

      So far, I have not developed any personal relationships with anyone to follows me on Twitter (nor have I developed any with people I follow) but I HAVE already begun to reap the benefits of not having to scour the Internet for the latest insight into topics of interest to me! 

      I think the medium are interesting as ‘tools’ – so far – and it will really depend on how you choose to you use it.  That said, this is still more of an experiment for me so I do not know how it will end!

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    1. Gregory Misiorek

      as my better half, who is very plugged into RL, not not SL networks, has reminded me this morning, we do run a risk of ignoring real people who surround us as our minds stay connected to other people’s brightness stroking our egos. realbraindump

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      1. Ernest Reeb Post author

        Aw, Gregory – just as I was feeling good about myself and how “bright” I must be for finally using Twitter!  Now I don’t know what to think – and I haven’t yet found the right blog posting to tell me!

        I am lost between thinking highly of myself for “tweeting”, feeling misplaced as a person who only involves himself in social media for the off chance that someone way positively respond to his post (thus stroking my ever-so-fragile ego!), or wondering if I should focus more on what I learned in b-school about following the behaviors of those in positions you aspire to (only 16% of CEO’s online??). 

        For me, as a former small business owner, I do NOT aspire to be CEO again and, as of this moment, I will continue my test drive through the world of social media and remember to enjoy it without taking myself too seriously. 

        Great lessons; thank you both!

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        1. Gregory Misiorek

          Ernest,

          thanks for picking up the thread. i think CEO’s have a very good reason to stay away from posting on twitter as their tweets would get misinterpreted as quickly as they get posted. at the moment, only 16 % seem to be ready to face that risk. ther rest of us will enjoy the not-so-serious aspects for this new way of communicating as much as we can as most (but not all) of those posts are utterly irrelevant and useless, mine being the best example.

          thx,

          greg

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