My Social Experiment.

Experiment might be a heavy word. Maybe observation would be more appropriate.

My birthday was last week and, as I’m sure you’ve experienced as well, I was inundated with “happy birthday” messages on my Facebook wall. I’m always so thankful for these and often it’s the first time in a while that I’ve heard from some people. So every year I try to make a point to write a thank you message back to each person individually. And this year I observed something…

I wrote 110 “thank you” replies and almost half of those people commented back or “liked” (official Facebook language here) my message to them. These are conversations, brief but still conversations, that never would have happened otherwise. I haven’t even seen some of these people in years. But,  thanks to technology, that doesn’t have to mean all hope is lost.

Later the same week I read this A-mazing article and couldn’t help but yell, “YES. This is what it’s about!”

(Read this and come back)

Technology is awesome. Social media is an amazing development that has allowed our world to shrink and knowledge to be spread in the blink of an eye. But it is not about the technology. It’s about the people. The platform is just a tool. It’s how you use it that matters. All those “friends” you have on Facebook? All those followers on Twitter? THEY’RE PEOPLE. Ok, unless they’re spam. Anyway. Connect with them! Don’t just go for numbers, go for relationships. Take advantage of the opportunities that social media allows through sharing information.

If someone had walked up to me last week and said “happy birthday!” to my face, I would have said thank you. Therefore, I feel the same etiquette holds true on my social media. And look…it lead to me having some kind of human conversation with at least 50 people who I may not have had otherwise. And not only that, but all those people who took 5 seconds to send me a message know that I appreciate them and that they did make a difference in my day…and everyone needs to know that.

So take the time. It’s less about the actual technology and more about reaching your audience. Use the tools for their purpose; to connect, human to human.