Stop Thinking of Social Media as Technology – Think of it as Community

social media
Stop thinking of social media as technology and think of it as community.

If you think of the social media networks as technology, your first thought is, “I’m not a techie!” Take a step back. Look at what social media really is: community.

Think if each of the social networks as foreign countries — each with its own language and culture.

If you’ve ever travel abroad to somewhere where English is not the main language, you need to learn at least a few words so you can find a hotel, bathroom, restaurant or taxi. Right? If you go to Spain, you’ll need to know a little Spanish, etc. Another anomaly is even if you learn Spanish, if you travel to more than one South American country, you’ll find that words that mean one thing in say, Argentina, means something totally different in Chili.

Same with the Social Media Community

For instance, on Facebook, a “Status Update” is the same as a post. On LinkedIn, however, you can “start a post” where you tell the world what’s going on or sharing a website. Or you can write a longer article for LinkedIn’s blog. It’s like writing for the Business Journal. A Tweet is a Twitter post. Retweeting is sharing someone else’s post on Twitter. You “Pin” a picture or a video onto a Pinterest board and “repin” someone else’s pin on one of your boards where your followers can see it — or sharing. (Related: Free Social Media Glossary)

You “Friend” someone and “Like” a page on Facebook; “Follow” someone on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest; and you “Connect” with someone on LinkedIn;

When it comes to culture, the networks differ also. Twitter is the only one where you’re expected to thank people for following, retweeting and mentioning you. LinkedIn is a community of professionals. Respect that — keep religion and politics out of it unless, of course, those are the industries you’re in. Don’t put a silly picture instead of your head shot. No one is going to take you seriously! Keep funny, personal stuff on Facebook and Instagram — but remember, if you post it “Public” anyone can see it!

Feel Free to Personalize

Now, it’s OK to every so often share a little bit of the personal you. People, customers, peers and colleagues need to see that you’re human. Check out this video by Taylor Luke of Financial Potion.

But, be tactful. Don’t share too much. Save really personal stuff for your personal Facebook updates, personal Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest accounts.

Sure, there is some technology involved, but don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s just like learning a new software program or a new language — take one at a time. You want to feel at home in these communities.

you got this lighted signage
Photo by Prateek Katyal on

Keep in mind too, that if you really want to learn a language, you need to immerse yourself in that country. I understood Spanish because my parents spoke it at home in New York where I grew up. And I learned the grammar in high school. But it wasn’t until I spent a summer in Puerto Rico and later moved there, that I really became fluent. The best thing to do is hangout in the networks which your target market frequents.

Learning anything requires practice.

As you get more familiar with the networks and even blogging on WordPress, you’ll get around faster and easier and it will take you less time to do what you need to do.

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