Several years ago I received an odd request in my Inbox - "Join my network on LinkedIn" was the message. I thought to myself, "what the heck is LinkedIn?" I wasn't sure if I should accept or not. What was I afraid of?
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT STUFF
I seem to hear this response more and more when I discuss social media with my colleagues. Typically their fear is masked in criticism or a joke. Are they simply afraid to learn? Maybe they won't catch on quickly enough to be accepted; maybe they will look foolish and lose respect, or maybe they won't have enough time to spend on social media because they are too busy. Yeah, sure. I have lots of free time to spend on social media. (Sorry for the moment of sarcasm.) The classic excuse is that if we start using social media at work, every single employee will never work again and the entire organization will come to a grinding halt. (Anyone remember rolling out the Internet on employee's desk tops?)
What are they afraid of?
What I understand now is that I was missing out on so much content. The opportunities to learn, network, stay current in my business, and also contribute were moving past me so quickly I didn't even know they existed. I was still waiting to network at my next semi-annual conference. Sad, but true.
The more I engaged and learned about twitter, LinkedIn and other tools, the more I grew professionally. God forbid I ever believe I no longer need to learn in order to do my job effectively!
So, what is everyone afraid of?
SOCIAL = BUSINESS REALITY
My perspective has changed so dramatically that I can't believe anyone in HR (or quite frankly, anyone at all) isn't involved. Ranging from my personal facebook page, to an active LinkedIn site, to daily tweets, and even this blog (soon to be upgraded in a big way) - social media is now fully integrated into my personal and professional lives. But going social is much more than a personal branding exercise.
Let's look at a quick example of the transition in my workplace relative to recruitment (there are many, many other applications). Twelve months ago we did not have much of a recruitment presence on any social media platform. Fast forward to today - we're hiring great candidates through a contract with LinkedIn, our recruitment team is becoming active on twitter, our facebook page is beginning to find it's "sea legs" and we now consider foursquare a potential recruitment tool. Considering that most, if not all, of the employees I (read here -> "we") will hire in the future are active on some form of social media, can you afford to miss out?
I'm not afraid anymore.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Where are you on the social media journey? Are you taking your time and learning about the tools available to help you get current? Are you reaching out to others in your network to help you?
Or, do you still believe that this is just a fad, and social media will never catch on (just like those cell phones in a bag that you plugged into your car never did either).
What are you afraid of?
I'd love to hear from you.
pics courtesy of twittercism.com and www.rebeccaosberg.com