Lately I’ve had numerous discussions with people about Social Media, why I use it, how I use it and which tools I use. So I figured it may make sense to write about it!
I use Social Media because it’s an incredible tool to seek & find information and thought leaders. In addition Social Media can serve as a conduit to both develop and deepen relationships. I’ve learned so much from people I’d never have the opportunity to encounter in daily life and discovered depth to many I do know, in addition to finding common interests that likely wouldn’t come up in normal conversation. I use a limited set of Social Media platforms & tools. Social Media facilitates the other things that I do in my day to day personal & professional life.
The tools I use…
I love Twitter’s simplicity, the ability to jump on & see what’s happening at that moment in time across my Tweetstream. I like how TweetDeck can organize my lists and key words and show me a snapshot of what’s happening around a specific topic or area of interest. Twitter is an amazing tool to give you a pulse on what’s going on in addition to breaking news & event updates. It can also serve as a public conversation & real-time connection tool at conferences, providing updated information, additional insight & links. Not to mention widening the audience to those not participating in person. I’ve learned from shared information at several conferences I did not attend in person last year and the information can be found later – the Library of Congress is even archiving our Tweets! I’ve found so many people to learn from on Twitter and developed professional relationships & made friends which is why I’m in awe of this powerful tool.
LinkedIn for me is like a self-updating rolodex. A modern version of exchanging business cards, but the business card never goes out of date. In today’s world where people may only be associated with a particular organization for a few years at a time, it’s the perfect tool to keep track of who is doing what & where. In this world of transparency, it can also give you a pulse on what is happening at a particular company, their employee demographics etc. If your competition says they have a strong local presence in a particular market or skill-set & their LinkedIn employees suggest a different story, it begs some question… Not to mention the ability to get some insight into the people you will be meeting with & a snapshot of their social presence as it’s likely linked to their LinkedIn profile.
Facebook came later for me. I initially saw it as a tool for keeping in touch with friends & family & as such would decline invites from business colleagues. I then started to look at it differently and started to see Facebook like my office. If someone were to visit me, we’d initially talk about our respective week-ends for a while & they would see the photos of my family, my son’s artwork & other random artifacts from my personal life. Once I started to look at it like that & interact with professional colleagues there, it changed the relationship dynamic. It’s amazing how a glimpse into someone’s personal life can help to forge additional connections as you find areas of commonality that may never be uncovered in occasional small talk. Perhaps you visit the same places from time to time, see humor in similar things, find inspiration in similar things – or your kids/grandkids are the same age, it all drives towards deeper relationships both personal & professional.
My final key tool is my phone – formerly an iPhone, now a Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has done a really good job with the People Hub & seamless Facebook integration. Although I would really like to see them build on it & add Twitter integration to the People Hub. This is truly the beginnings of a really ‘social’ phone. Looking forward to when TweetDeck get their Windows Phone 7 application ready too!
I like to think of myself as a connector – always looking to connect people & information to each other to drive more meaningful relationships. Social Media works for me because it facilitates all of this.
I’m looking forward to the HIMSS11 Conference in February & to seeing what goodies the HIMSS team has in store for us this year. Last year there were several very interesting Social Media focused sessions. Not to mention the promise of reconnecting with many of those that I have learned from & been inspired by during the year – the wonderful members of the HCSM & HealthIT communities!
See you at HIMSS11?