by Paula on November 10, 2010

cairnYesterday I took time out from being busy to meet a dear friend for a lunchtime coffee. My friend is an artist, an intellectual and in a lot of respects, a loner. He is a deep thinker, an avid reader, and spends a lot of his time with a paintbrush or intricate computer software, expressing his detailed and unique ideas through art.

He spoke during our time together of some of his concerns at the demise of community, society and values, and his growing fear of a world gone sour and lacking direction and focus. I have to admit I was surprised by this as I personally feel a strong sense of values, of community, of people on the whole being good and decent.

The main difference between he and I is that he reads media and news and takes all this doom and gloom and analyses it internally and from his sole perspective, and it colours his perception of the world. Without the opportunity to engage with others, share these fears, and see in action the kindness of people and community he is lacking a vital part of what makes the world an ok place to be in.

I maybe take my communities for granted. I have work colleagues, friends through school, family connections, online communities, local village communities. All which offer me a sense of belonging and a feeling that whatever I feel or do, there is someone else out there feeling or doing exactly the same. It is this over-riding sense of belonging that stamps all over the negative news being fired at me through my TV and newspapers, and it is right there that he is in danger of losing that sense of balance.

And so, without wishing to go too deep into the personal psyche, I bring it right back to Social Media – yes all paths really do lead back to Social Media! What struck me when talking to him is that there are many forms of information giving and sharing and yet the two most important things, to individuals and to business are:

Balance Taking our information from a variety of sources, or putting out our information through a variety of sources. Websites, social networks, face-to-face communication, printed news….all of these avenues for communication and learning are important. Too much of one and too little of the other leads to a rather one-sided perspective and doesn’t allow us to properly get a grasp of how the land lies.

Engaging I refer to it again and again as it is the one key thing that Social Media offers you that nothing else really does. Give out and you will get back. Share and people will share with you. Help and you will be helped. Each time you give something out and people respond it creates positivity. For you as an individual that you have connected, and for you as a business because you have shown that you care, and you listen and you are ‘real’

So to my friend I say, open that door, let people in and find a channel to let people see the unique and wonderful person that you are. To a business I say the same. Use the growing opportunities available to you to meet people on their level, show them who you really are, and what makes you special. And in both cases, you will see results.

{ 1 comment }

Nick Chinn November 11, 2010 at 9:14 am

What a lovely and personal take on the joys of social media, the doom of traditional media and the need to ensure that communities can be accessed and enjoyed through many different ways.
A refreshing and non-commercial view on how social media binds and creates communities.
As the blog world takes off I do have my mother ringing in my ear “nobody writes letters anymore, such a shame”; maybe having a billion, or so, pen friends (bloggers etc) might dull the ringing?
I hope your friend finds a way to enjoy the benefits of being a part of social media, rather than having the negatives amplified by those that seem to defiantly knock it.

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