I’m still coming across many colleagues in the communications field who haven’t used social media yet.
And by that I mean: don’t have a Facebook account.
Have never looked at Twitter.
Aren’t sure how to find a blog.
My first reaction is to struggle to keep my jaw from hitting the floor.
The second reaction is one of confusion. I usually ask them why they aren’t using social media, and the most frequent response is that they value their privacy or they prefer to communicate with friends by more traditional needs.
(Of course, that response underlies their lack of understanding. You can choose to have quite a private experience on social media. And using social media does not preclude you from maintaining your current communication habits when it comes to ‘real life friends’. But I digress.)
If you’re working in public relations, advertising, web design, marketing, what-have-you, it’s remiss of you not to be using social media and experiencing what it’s like to be part of an online community, over the long term. The reasons why include:
- Sooner or later, you’ll be asked for your opinion on a social media idea. You better be ready to offer something realistic and not just unfair vague impressions of a platform that you’ve gained second-hand from the traditional media and social media cynics.
- Any morning now, your boss might storm into your office and cry “People are writing bad things about the company on Facebook and I want you to remove it now!” What will you do, if you don’t even have a Facebook account? If you don’t understand how to find things on Facebook? And whether in fact it’s possible / prudent to attempt to remove other people’s comments?
- There are other, less-talented people than you in your field kicking arse right now because they’re promoting themselves on social media sites, networking the heck out of your industry and being seen to be a leader in their field. Whereas others have never even heard of you.
So if you’re in communications, can I suggest, in the spirit of continual lifelong learning, that you bloody make sure you’ve got a Facebook account?
And when you have that Facebook account, follow brands there and watch the types of things they’re doing.
I also suggest you open a Twitter account and start interacting with your industry and keeping up with ideas from around the world.
You might even want to hang up on your shingle on LinkedIn, so that on the odd occasion people Google your name, a somewhat professional-looking summary of your career is returned in the search results.
Don’t have time? Suit yourself. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.