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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ExecuNet Presentation: Social Media Primer

My friend and longtime career counselor, Linsey Levine, founder of CareerCounsel, invited me to present a Social Media Primer to her 3/27/09 ExecuNet Structured Networking meeting in Westchester, NY.

I had never been to the Westchester Graduate Center of NYU-Polytechnic Institute where the meeting took place. What a terrific venue! Comfortable and bright meeting rooms, fully equipped for multi-media sessions, and convenient location. Also conducive to wonderful conversation.

My presentation, Social Media Primer, offered an overview of social media, with a focus on how social media tools can be useful in a job search.

I consider these tools infinitely valuable and relevant. I start most research - be it professional or personal - at a search window [primarily Google]. Most of our customers do the same. What about you?

Given the importance of the search window, it makes sense to become comfortable with the richness of content available online. Furthermore, markets are conversations and it behooves us to be ready to take part in the conversations happening.

I've included the presentation here. Note that only the first 3 slides appear on this SlideShare window [I have a query in about that and hope to find the 17 missing slides]. However, if you click on the Social Media Primer presentation link, you will see a 'download presentation' option that invites you to register/login to SlideShare and access the full show. You'll also see at the bottom of the screen a transcript of the entire presentation.

The most important aspects of this journey into social media are to:

+ start exploring - by finding relevant terms to search on, and identifying resources [e.g, blogs or other platforms of interest to your audience like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.] of interest to follow - and then

+ start actively 'listening.' Listening requires that you become aware of the conversations taking place on the various platforms, and comfortable with the interactions before participating.

I liken the social media experience to being invited into someone's home for the first time. Aren't you on your best behavior, watching carefully for cues on how to act, when to help out, and how to take part in conversation? It's the same in an online environment. You're a guest; you're respectful; you observe and then, after gaining confidence, you start to engage in the ongoing conversation.

The presentation led to interesting discussion about how to manage the tools in terms of information overload and time consumption -- which brought up the importance of having a strategy for social media tools. If these tools are about facilitating conversation, how do you want to make use of them?

Is it for market research, to understand what is being said about a brand or company?

Is it to identify thought leaders, to learn from them and eventually engage in conversation with them?

Or, is it simply for exploration, to better determine how the tools might work in a specific situation?

Regardless, you have a marvelous opportunity.

Furthermore, the tools aren't going away. Quite the opposite.

Even if the organizations or industries you are a part of aren't actively involved in social marketing, at some point they will need to be. So why not start exploring? It gets you that much closer to becoming comfortable and eventually engaging in the conversation.

What do you think?

Thank you, Linsey, for this opportunity.

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