As a marketing executive by profession… I’m a big believer in the power of social media and virtual networking. People talking and sharing with others is always a good thing, especially in venues where folks feel less vulnerable and more willing to share, as they tend to do in social media settings. As a frequent blogger and enthusiast on Linked In, I compare the social media dynamic to that same strange sense of relaxed intimacy we experience when we fly. Sitting next to someone on a plane at 30,000 feet, it seems we breathe in a unique strain of oxygen laced with truth serum, leaving us inspired to share secrets that we would never consider revealing down on the ground. And, the assumption that we will most likely not brush wrists with our ‘row companions any time soon when we touch down…gives us a sense of unspoken permission to spill our guts; sharing intimacies which would normally remain safely hidden, deep within the recesses of our unconscious mind.
Yes, there is no doubt that social media can foster that same type of über confidence and robust desire to share that we enjoy high in the sky, with one exception. There is that chance; that increased probability that we might actually brush up against a few of the folks we have been inviting into our network or ‘friending’, as we go about our lives. So we’re a bit smarter and better behaved… somewhat more restrained and definitely more discrete, than with our newfound passenger friends we’ve made high in the sky.
That point aside, every conversationalist I know has definitively pegged airplanes and social media sites as the absolutely best places to share, care and pontificate, and I for one, agree with them! At times, there is nothing more intoxicating than sending a sweet ‘midnight tweet’ (while snuggling with my dogs on the sofa) in front of late night TV. Please don’t snicker… as I’ll bet you’ve done it once or twice, as well.
We all agree…great things can, and do happen, as a result of the unbridled, enthusiastic discussions that develop in social media settings. But, here is the larger question… Can this increase in communication bravado truly account for the hundreds of stories of professional and personal good fortune; all allegedly generated by the unique communication dynamics found in social media?” Clearly, I do not profess to have the answer to these resounding claims of social media serendipity, but I have had some experiences which have caused me to wonder. Let me explain…
Several years ago, after a beloved company I worked for closed its doors, I grieved for a few weeks — then signed up with a local career marketing service. One of the best lessons they taught revolved around navigating this crazy networking site known as Linked In. Within several days of their training, I had my account and profile established, was playing in their professional groups, had begun to initiate discussions, upload blogs and was sending In Mail’s to prospective employers! A mere forty-five days later, I had a signed, sealed and delivered job offer from a company executive who had read one of my group blogs (!) and a number of new professional contacts whom I conversed with via Linked In so frequently, that I now counted them as real “friends”! Go figure!
And it has just gotten better and better. Since I burst on the scene in the spring of 2009, Linked In has grown to become my favorite career ‘wonderland’. I have found jobs, met old colleagues, received endorsements, garnered professional references and have been introduced to many new experts in my field who reside across the globe. I see Linked In as a real place to congregate, chat, share strategies, industry tips and strategies that work in life and career. And I can do it all in lovely silence, or with my favorite iPod tunes streaming in the background. No distractions; just my thoughts, communications and an occasional outreach. In one word: ‘heaven’.
Facebook has provided an even more exciting tale of success. I’ve reconnected with my entire high-school graduating class (or so it feels like) and have rediscovered the pride of my old neighborhood via our wall pile-on’s. Those begin with one person shouting out something exciting or emotional, and then we all ‘pile on’ with comments and hurrahs for each other. Forgotten friends from college and grad school have also found their way back into my life, and are now vibrant parts of my wall correspondence. Some of the week’s best moments happen here. Wall friends share their picks in music, pictures, jokes, quotes, high and low moments. So many tender shares that might never exist if the venue was brick and the speaker had to show up to get in the game.
So, does social media provide the perfect Petrie dish for life’s magic moments? Who really knows? But recently, I took a shot at rewriting the definition of luck to go something like this: “Luck is the perfect mix of opportunity, preparedness and social media co-mingling on my dime, in real time.”
Do you buy it? Although I penned it, I am honestly still not certain. However, what I am sure of, is that I have deep appreciation and gratitude for this amazing social sand box that is open to play in, 24/7. It’s a come as you are space; a playground which is welcoming to all–even those having a bad hair day! No toys are required, just a willingness to dig your toes into the proverbial social sand and begin engaging with your heart, spirit and mind.
And, one last thought for the road…
In the expansive online world of social media where all things can seemingly be acheived by hitting a ‘send’ button, perhaps the ultimate quest for serendipity begins and ends where the rubber meets the metal, or where a little wireless mouse meets my ever willing HP keyboard.
How have Linked In, Facebook and Twitter changed YOUR life and brought you good fortune? Please, leave me a comment and share, share away!