What Social Networking Can Teach Businesses About Communication
Earlier this month, Facebook celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the day the social networking giant began its journey into changing the way we communicate. Now, we have Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more to fill in the gaps that Skype, FaceTime, email, text messaging, and good old phone conversations leave behind. While we often think of social networking as a way to share pictures of the kids, keep in touch with friends across the world, and play a variety of games, social networking can teach us more than just ‘how much is too much?’ when it comes to personal sharing and how to digitally take care of a farm.
The Ability To Pick and Choose
Social media allows people to select what they share with the world, their acquaintances, their friends, and their family. While setting up proper privacy settings is a crucial component to social networking, it is also vital to be aware of the possible positive and negative impacts of your posts. While the “It’s complicated” relationship status is often reserved for dramatic high school relationships, many older people often experience hardship in their personal lives that ultimately finds its way into their professional lives. Some individuals may announce a life change on their social networks, while others prefer to only share with those individuals closest to them.
We all know that some people are extremely open with their personal lives at work, while others prefer to keep their bosses and coworkers at a far distance. It’s important to understand that our personal lives ultimately affect our professional endeavors. Whether it’s a new relationship, a baby, a breakup, or the death of a family member, every member of an organization needs to keep in mind that everyone is fighting their own battles. Even if we don’t want to talk about the passing of a close family member, sharing this knowledge with our colleagues will allow for an environment of compassion and understanding while limiting miscommunication and conflict.
Connecting People With Common Interests
No matter the social network, people seek out others with their common interests. We join groups for our hobbies, follow influencers in our chosen careers, and connect more often with those who share posts on a topic of interest to us. Connecting in this way requires a certain level of comfort with ourselves and with others, which can often arise from simply taking that first step of talking about what our passions are. Do you dress up for comic conventions? Are you in several fantasy football leagues? Do you know more about wine than Frasier Crane? The quickest way to connect with someone is to be unabashedly open about what brings you joy.
Whether a workplace is small or large, one office or twenty, finding ways to help the individuals within your organization connect with each other is a way to encourage positive employee relationships and a sense of camaraderie. When holding events, consider what people are interested in. If there are a lot of runners, organize an optional run for charity. Do people in your office read? Consider a book exchange of their favorites. Not only will this help employees bond with each other, but it will also encourage them to continue their passion and improve their overall wellbeing.
The Power To Inspire
Social media is what you make of it. If you connect and follow individuals who exude negativity, you can bet that you will see a change in your own mindset and it won’t be for the better. The good news is, if you follow individuals and brands that make it their mission to spread positive messages into the digital world, you will undoubtedly notice an increase in your own level of positivity.
While placing inspirational messages around the office has been commonplace for years, it’s not just about putting up wallpaper. Companies have the power to create a workplace of positivity to support and inspire their business community. So often, people are ruthlessly competitive and suspicious of individuals within their organization, but how efficiently can a business run in that type of environment? It’s not to say we need to coddle everyone. Providing an environment of support and excitement can go a long way to not only improve employee morale, but encourage the best work possible.
A Closing Thought
While many people look at social media as a simple tool to waste time, it can provide great insights into how we interact with the world around us. This isn’t to say that we need to connect with all of our colleagues on Facebook, but consider connecting with some of them on LinkedIn. Not only is this professional networking site a way to highlight our own professional endeavors and interests, but it’s a way to encourage, inspire, and praise others for their hard work.