There is an ongoing debate about whether or not social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are contributing to a less social world. The truth is, the answer is not one sided; the social aspects of these sites are used differently, by every user, every day. For instance, one day I might use Facebook to check out what my old high school crush is up to and the next I could be having an amazing Twitter conversation with somebody I’ve never met. In an attempted to settle the aforementioned debate in one sentence, I present the following:
Social media is not changing our social worlds, it is empowering us to create new ones.
This isn’t a new idea, but many people are only using social media in ways that inhibit their social worlds.
I’ve recently discovered how powerful social media can be to connect, especially when it comes to networking with professionals who work in the industries that you would like to.
So how have I succeeded?
In two months from now I will be a proud graduate from San Jose State University, but with this pride comes the fears of the post-graduation job search. Instead of sending out my resume, applying for hundreds of jobs and waiting hopelessly to get a response, I’ve been using Twitter and Linked in to connect with industry professionals. In the last two weeks I’ve been able to connect with individuals from industry leading companies, including AKQA, Ebay, Edelman Digital and Men’s Wearhouse. I was shocked, and excited, at how easily I was able to connect, and all by simply reaching out and asking.
The first person I reached out to was Sarah Essary (@ConsumingPR), the Sr. Social Media Specialist for Men’s Wearhouse. I had been scanning the jobs section on LinkedIn and saw a posting for a position at Men’s Wearhouse that interested me. While reading the details of the job, I saw Sarah’s name as the person who had posted the job. With a simple copy and paste, I was quickly able to find her on Twitter.
After I followed her, I sent her a mention that read simply “Hi Sarah, I found you on LinkedIn & was hoping to connect. I’d love to set up an info interview 2 learn more about your SM team.” Not only did she reply, but she also followed me back. After a few tweets back and forth, she shared her email with me and the rest is history!
Not only did I get some really great information from our interview, but I was also able to network with a great new contact. On top of everything, I had a blast doing it. The excitement of getting that reply tweet is almost like opening a really great Christmas present.
Social networking sites are like a box of chocolates…
Because I love the movie, I’d now like to compare social media to Forest Gump’s famous quote and say that social networking sites are like a box of chocolates because you really do never know what you’re going to get.
Take a look at this picture to see what I mean:
When I replied to AKQA’s tweet, never did I expect the company’s CEO to reply! In relation to my previous Forest Gump quote, this was like grabbing a random chocolate and getting the best flavor in the box!