Social Media - A Misnomer?

Published: 16 May 2012

At the heart of the digital evolution, of the last decade, there have been a number of innovations that genuinely propagate enhanced and more accessible communication. Matt Cockbill, Head of Technology & Engineering Manufacturing & Infrastructure Practices for Berwick Partners, considers if ‘social media’ is a misnomer? These days the adage of ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ has a very different ring to it. In an ever more interconnected world, who you know, and how you leverage that connection is integral to enhancing what you know.

The evolution of social media is doing much to drive a wider promulgation of ideas and views that would hitherto be unconnectable in the analogue era. That said, this isn’t particularly new. Since the dawn of the internet there have been bulletin boards and forums where everyone, and I mean everyone, has a voice; at least one of everything to meet with every possible appetite and perspective.

The likes of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have dramatically changed the dynamic of managing the interaction between you and your contact base, be they business, social, or family. While it is easy to propagate your contact base through these ‘social networking’ channels, it is not in its own right networking.

For Social Media based ‘business’ networking to be valuable, it needs further action. Action moves simple ‘contact kleptomania’ into valuable networking which can be leveraged to your advantage. As was ever the way, in order to get the best from networking, you have to put more in to get more out. Networking should be defined, and most valuable, when both parties bring something to the contact, and leave the exchange enrichened by it. In short, simple ‘click, accept & connect’ networking is far too easy or simply lazy. By doing more and seeking to share value, the real power of online networking comes alive.

In order to gain the most benefit from social media we must think in two lanes. First lane is ‘online media’; the enabler that provisions the contact and makes the connection. The ‘social’ element defines the networking ‘lane’. Remember networking is best done person to person, with value add to both. Be social! Don’t just consume online content.

So, whether it’s to a recruiter, or a prospective hiring manager, think hard before you seek to make a fresh connection through LinkedIn or your social media channel of choice. Be clear on what you bring to the debate, and what you can offer to each person. Good people are in the habit of knowing good people. Present a one size fits all offering, and you risk being seen as a generic one size fits all resource. And that isn’t ‘good people’.

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