As a millennial, I’m the supposed cause of a lot of problems. Just a few of the things I’ve been credited for killing in the past ten years are the Olympics, diamonds, bar soap, marriage, and of course, socializing.
Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are ruining our attention spans and ability to actually talk to other human beings, right?
Kidding aside, I firmly believe that first and foremost, social media is a tool for connection. It doesn’t hinder it, nor does it guarantee it, at the very least, it forces us to reconsider the ways in which we have always interacted with each other.
Fortunately, this means that we have the opportunity to make valuable personal and business connections using tools we have at our fingertips 24/7. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a position where we have to revisit topics that we're always in the process of honing (at least I am anyway). In particular: what the heck to say to everyone?!
The Internet Party
Gary Vaynerchuk has described social media, particularly Twitter, as a “true” party. One where popping in and out of people's conversations isn’t a rude thing to do, but it actually adds to the overall experience. I think he intended it as a “don’t worry about it!” kind of message. But for me, it raised sweaty-palm inducing memories of high school dances and parties - and perhaps worse still - my very first professional networking event.
“What do I say? What do people want to hear? How do I seem more interesting?”
The struggle is real. As a digital marketer, I find that this hurdle is typically the one that the majority of people stop at.
There are plenty of practical tactics out there for figuring out what to say on social media, but something Maria Popova of Brain Pickings said changed how I thought about my approach. It was, “if you want to be interesting - be interested.”
Curiosity, not just for the person you’re connecting with, but for your industry, city, or really anything else, is truly compelling. It shows vulnerability, opens opportunities for public authenticity, invites your community to join in your journey, and it’s contagious.
All of a sudden, you don’t have to be interesting. You just have to be curious. Score!
What Curious People Do
I don’t have enough room to share all the tips and tricks here, but what I can share are a few good questions for you to mull over while you’re wondering what on earth you’re going to be tweeting, posting, snapping, or streaming:
1. What do you want to learn about? Ask your audience where to start, what you might have missed, or what to avoid. Don’t be afraid to search for the topic and ask active posters directly.
2. What’s going on right now? What’s going on in your city? In your industry? Is there an event going on that you can follow along with, learn a few things, ask a question or two, or maybe even add to the conversation?
3. What’s something you heard someone else say that was impactful? Quotations from thought leaders, colleagues, and friends that you agreed with or didn’t are always great places to start dialogue.
4. What can you share? Share what you know from your digital or non-digital journey! Maybe you can help get a newbie started, make connections with peers, or document your path for posterity.