There is no doubt that in today’s electronic world Social Media is the place to be. Whether you are an entrepreneur building a business, a student looking to learn or a news station spreading a story, people are on social media. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram or one of many other social outlets for personal development, chatting, job hunting or meeting someone new. The fact is that social media has brought the world, if not geographically closer, electronically closer. It is truly an opportunity to connect.
Connection is such an important part of Social Media. At the same time connections in our homes, at our jobs and in our communities are also important pieces of our daily life. Although at times we may all feel we are, or want to be alone, we are not. We are part of something bigger. How much bigger is a choice we all make.
Let’s look at some of these connections:
- Family: Families come in different sizes and different configurations. And the challenges in todays world are different than in other generations. One value still stays in place. Connection and engagement not just communication is extremely important for families. My younger son Stephen and I share a love for NASCAR racing. Although he lives 350 miles from me, we have started a race day ritual where we text throughout the race. We connect through this communication. As a part of a family you play a service role for other family members. Whether it is to help in a crisis or just to sit and listen to someone vent we must make time and keep an open door for true connection within the family.
- Work: I read every day about how many people are not engaged in their jobs. I say job because if you are not engaged it is not a career. Leaders at every level have the power to change this reality. You change it by connecting with your people. Before you tell me you don’t have time to connect I will ask you if you have the time and money to replace all the good people who leave your company because you have not connected? There are two things that I am sure of in business. People want to be appreciated and feel like part of the company. If they don’t they will leave. Talk with your people. This isn’t about being liked or friendships, if you are against those things, it is about having respect for people as human beings. When I was a District Manager I would try to talk to every member of the store team every visit. Why, because it showed they matter.
- Communities: We all have some things we love and don’t like about the places we live. Yet do we truly connect with others in our community? Are we doing volunteer work or supporting the local sports teams or being sure we get out and vote? We live there, although some of us are at work more than home, we are part of something bigger. It is part of our story with which we should connect.
- Social Media: You may be on social media through one or many of the available outlets, but do you connect there? I don’t mean plug-in and read a few stories or watch a video here or there, I mean connect. Do you read a blog post from twitter and make a comment? Do you comment on a Facebook post or just hit like? Do you ever reply to a companion and have a conversation? Do you take it to the next level and do a Hang Out or Skype to get to know the person? Social Media is a great place to connect with people. In a typical week I will chat or connect directly with people throughout the United States along with friends from Lebanon, Australia, Canada, and India just to name a few. The diversity and ability to learn is endless. You just have to connect. There are definitely connections you don’t want to make and you need to have boundaries. At the same time connect where ever you can learn from, teach and engage with people.
I have been asked what I would like people to say about me at my memorial service. I would hope they would say ~ in difficult times he never gave up and I appreciated his connecting with me because I know he cared. You have a story to tell. Connect with people and tell that story. At the same time, listen to their story because you may be amazed at what you will learn.