Using Social Media – a personal viewpoint

As promised, here is my explanation of how I use blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In.

I first signed up for Facebook so I could communicate with my then 18-year-old Great niece, who was leaving a very small town in Northern NY state for school in LA and I wanted to stay close to her.  My “friends” really are friends and family and I post frequently to keep them up to date with what’s going on in our lives and my family (and friends) do the same.  Frequently when I see someone I haven’t seen in months, we pick up the conversation from our last post, which may be a trip the other person took or an event we attended, or a family gathering.  I post frequently about my Dad, with who our family seems always to be on some adventure. Five of us took him to Dublin for his 89th birthday and we’ve been on adventures (and family golf tournaments) since then, which we’ve posted.  Friends are always asking for an update.  A frequent concern/question I am asked is people telling me they don’t want to share information, especially personal information, with others.  As one lawyer stated, “I don’t want pictures of me wearing a lampshade on Facebook”.  Well…. DON’T POST THEM, then!!  What each of us posts is totally within our control.  Many of my friends don’t post anything but tell me they enjoy reading about my family’s adventures… and our great meals together.  In short, it’s a way to keep up with family and friends.  I found college classmates from my one year at Northeastern (before transferring), who I have thought about often since then and am so happy to re-connect with them.  I am also connected to news outlets (NPR, etc) where I want to be certain I read certain subject or topic-specific information from them.  Lastly, our Chief Operating Officer in the city started a group known as Downtown Dwellers, which now has 515 participants.  The conversations are wide-ranging from announcing art openings to concerns residents have about an issue to recommendations for specific services.  It’s fascinating and it’s fun to then meet people whose postings we’ve been reading.

Twitter:  My only regular postings on Twitter are from feeding both of my blogs into Twitter and I seem to be accumulating followers.  I also use Twitter to keep up to date with emergency notifications.  Our city Chief Operating Officer, a local weather man, Fire Chief, and Mayor are local Tweeters and are good communicators on Twitter in a crisis.  News journalists who followed the trial of former Mayor Perez Tweeted from the courtroom so we could follow the action as it was happening.  Twitter is the best location for “breaking news” pieces that are relevant to my life.  The trick is to “follow” people who make valuable, interesting, and timely contributions.  It’s our choice who we follow.  Delta has a Twitter account whereby you can contact them by Twitter and they will respond to the issue you’re having immediately.  That’s very helpful.

Linked-In consists of my business connections.  Again, you connect with people who want to connect with you and vice versa.  There is useful information and contacts on Linked-In as on FB and Twitter, depending what you want to know and how you want to use the site.

Blogs:  I have two blogs:  hopsuz.wordpress.com and hopgoodgroup.wordpress.com.  hopsuz is my personal blog and I post mostly bicycle information about trips or packing or traveling.  hopgoodgroup is more business focused and I post my own insights from my experiences or thoughts about articles from others I find worthwhile.

For each and every one of my posts, I ask myself if I were in a deposition how I would feel about answering questions about a post I’m about to make and it causes me to think carefully about what I’m saying, which I think is good.

Nick Bilton’s book about social media suggested that in the new world, we would use these vehicles to be always current on the topics we care about, which could be world news, or sustainability, or whatever… I didn’t understand it at the time, but I understand much better.  As the world is overloaded with data we need a filter and our social networks serve that purpose.  We don’t have to sit through the evening news which is already outdated, much of the time is spent on advertising, and the rest of topics we don’t much care about.  We can stay current on topics of interest in choosing carefully who we “follow” or connect with on our social networking sites.

There is much that I’ve missed and I will update this as topics occur to me, but it’s a start for those who would like to hear one person’s reason for participating and how I use the sites available to me.

For boards of directors, knowing that someone is monitoring sites so if there’s a video or posting that has the opportunity to impact the reputation of the company or “go viral”, someone will be reacting quickly should cause numerous questions to be asked at the board.  Conversely the marketing and sales opportunities are endless as are the opportunities to learn more about the customer.

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About hopsuz

Experienced leader, both as CEO and as board Chair. Founder of the 25 year old The Hopgood Group, LLC. Co-author of the award winning "Board Leadership for the Company in Crisis". Consultant to companies large and small. Expertise in board evaluations and leadership challenges.
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