Friday, January 21, 2011

Social media changed us in 2010

I got the coolest email today from LinkedIn, to which I belong. They sent me an email with the subject “Heather, 8 of your connections changed jobs in 2010” and it came with the following link/photo:

linked in icon for what 2010 brought

Isn’t that cool?

First, what an awesome way for LinkedIn to get in front of their ‘customers’. Brilliant email marketing idea! Note to self: adapt this for my own use.

Second, I already knew about 7 of the 8. But what I find amazing is that I was aware of 50% of these job changes solely because I’m involved in social media.

We all  know the jokes about being glued to our smart phones. We’ve seen people who can’t get off their phone at the gym, who shout “I might lose you” when they enter the elevator. And that guy who’s texting during his son’s soccer game is so well known he’s got his own commercial! Phoenix banned texting while driving over 2 years ago. Tweeting is an international phenomenon and Facebook has 100 million users.

I admit: sometimes I’m overwhelmed by Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

But this little email from LinkedIn made me realize that no matter how behind the tech-geek curve I feel, and no matter how many days I wake up and resolve to “do better” at keeping up with the fire-hose of information spewing out of my BlackBerry, social media has really changed my life

Overall, I think it’s a net-positive change.

You could argue that social media is making us all behave more like we have ADD. And it’s probably true that social media is making our “friendships” more shallow.

But really, how deep a friendship do I need to cultivate with 3 people I used to work with, 1 of whom lives and works 3,000 miles away? And how involved do I need to be in daily life of the sister of one of my best friends? Not very.

But it’s awfully nice to keep in touch with these people. To know when they get a promotion, or start planning a wedding, or have a baby or grandkid. It’s nice to be able to shoot them each an individual Tweet or IM to say “hey, good for you! thanks for sharing.”

Image ID 1100360 by Stock Exchange user spartsamIt’s kind of like waving at an acquaintance from across a crowded party. I don’t imagine these folks expect more than that from me. And I don’t expect more than that from them. I just think it’s nice to have the chance to smile and wave, and wish somebody well across the virtual social media cocktail party.

Want to share waves with me across the social media landscape? You can find me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, on the political blog written by my alter-ego the PoliticalB!tch, and finally on the bookclub website I run.