Social media changed my life almost as much as migrating to a country 3000 miles away. When I moved to the United States, I had to learn new logistics, (navigate the subway, deal with winter) a whole new culture, (what do you mean “casual dress work environment?” We have to pay for drinks at this wedding?) and acquire a new skill set (MS Public Relations and Corporate Communications). But the returns were boundless! So too with social media, there were many new things I needed to learn but the engagement and connections were worth it.
I found my LinkedIn page an effective way to manage professional contacts and to be “searchable” by employers. It was encouraging to experiment with as the basic edition is free and it was an easy way to catalogue my professional career. I was able to:
• Keep a digital “Rolodex” of professional contacts
• Enable my job searches and facilitate my ability to hire. I could prescreen candidates for jobs and expect that I was being similarly reviewed.
• Get background on the people who were current or potential business partners more quickly and in their own words.
Strangely enough I’ve derived the most satisfaction from my relatively new Twitter account @DeliciaDialog and #NYU308. Previously disdainful of character limitations but now I’m inspired by many things on Twitter.
Things which inspired me on Twitter
• How often I reached out to connect – because the requirements are so simple, I tweet more often than I post or blog.
• My reach – More people may hear my ideas,
which may increase my professional value in my field. Before social media, exposure through an employer was the way to acquire a good professional reputation.
• How I learn about people and issues – the sheer tidal wave of data which surges from this medium informs me about trending issues and offers ideas and information. Twitter focuses me on what is important in the public’s opinion instead of having to glean it from a multitude of media.
• How I pursue my leisure activities – with no chance of rejection from a “friend request” (or stalking charge) I can follow my favorite Food Network, (@altonbrown, @guarnaschelli, @GDeLaurentiis) sporting, media and professional personalities. Life is dynamic and while I have websites and recipe books, I enjoy the fresh information I can access and I am much more engaged and active in my hobbies than ever.
Facebook has become a living color record for my family and friends. I gained momentum on this channel when I acquired a smart phone to upload pictures/posts in an instant. I built stronger and closer connections with family and friends eroded by distance.
Some things which disappeared from my life after Facebook
• Long letters/emails to families and friends – updates are only doe via Facebook posts.
• Party planning – Oceans separate my family and friends so we now use Facebook to plan events from the invites to the logistics which would have done via email or phone calls. My uncle’s birthday in the Turks and Caicos last year was organized entirely through this medium.
• Printed photos – I no longer print photos or keep albums except digital ones.
• Calendar for life events – I get reminders on Facebook about birthdays so I don’t record it elsewhere. Greeting cards are extinct as I post sentiments on pages on happy occasions.
Facebook may detest this but I use it only for long term friends and family communications. I politely divert everyone else to other channels. Hey, not everyone cares to or should see photos of my 70 year old auntie in her swimsuit after a couple rum and coconut water drinks.
As a user, (I don’t have an account yet), YouTube allows me to enjoy events in which I’m interested and archive my timeline of experiences which defined the world in my lifetime.
Accessing my history
• The music of my homeland is not readily available on iTunes or other song sharing services. It is also difficult to find coverage of events like Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. I was only able to enjoy these events through You-Tube.
• Access to historical records strengthened my identity by giving me evidence of my history e.g. David Rudder winning the calypso monarch competition in 1986. or Brian Lara breaking the world record for the highest score in a cricket test innings for the second time in his life. I witnessed or participated in these events, and it’s the first time I have them at my finger tips for enjoyment or reference.
Because the quality and relevance of the information offered is what matters along with engagement achieved by a writer’s style blogging has trained me to become a better content creator in this medium:
How blogging made me better
• I research endlessly
• I’ve learned to coalesce multiple points of view into my own understanding and position.
• I’m learning to hone my writing style to one more digestible by the reader.
Judge for yourself here at deliciadialog.wordpress.com.
6. Personal and professional development:
Besides learning more about technology in general, I’ve become more confident about learning about even more applications of social media. I also find that I’ve developed:
• Improved reaction time – I can quantify and categorize an issue, the audience, and the industry, almost immediately which enables me to provide more effective counsel.
• A new way to think about communication and how people connect with each other.
• An improved understanding of my craft through the opportunity to learn every day from mavens of our trade
Personal social media use for me was a revelation in staying connected to the people I love. Thousands of miles separate my family and friends, as much as the intangible societal separations from the professional Social Media and PR gurus. The social media tools form not so much a bridge as a transporter, which would be the envy of Captain Kirk, to take me to a place I choose or bring the best of my colleagues, mentors and teachers to me.