Interaction Across Social Media Platforms

I recently received an interesting comment on my 10 Thoughts for Friday post. I mentioned in the post that I respond to invites from people on LinkedIn with a short message asking them to clarify why they’re connecting with me. My wording:

Hi x, 

Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  

Thank you and take care,

Cristina

Vicki commented on the post and urged me to accept the LinkedIn contacts, stating that “Nearly never will you be connected to by a weirdo – and if you are, it doesn’t reflect on you. LinkedIn is simply about building your network, sharing ideas, and making new business acquaintances…” In contrast, her thoughts were to be more cautious with Facebook and Twitter: “this is where I might use your response, to vet your new connections.” Lastly she said “You want your FB friends to actually be friends (or, I do).”

All of this got me thinking about how different individuals interact across social media platforms, their actions often based on assumptions or past experiences. Although there are very few formal rules governing our social media interactions, people have formed divergent ideas of etiquette- some platform by platform and others about social media as a whole.

Here is how I approach each platform and why:

  • LinkedIn: By now, you know my philosophy on LinkedIn. I accept people I know and follow up with those I don’t know. But there’s a reason that I don’t readily accept everyone: I actually had a weird experience with LinkedIn that changed my perspective a bit. I was added by an individual who was connected to others that I know and trust. Turns out, he wanted me to join his iffy business venture. I don’t think I would have been so trusting if I hadn’t seen that others I knew were connected to him. Hence my reasoning for being more cautious in accepting invites. There are also features on LinkedIn that lend themselves to keeping a curated network. You can ask contacts to connect you to their contacts. If people in the chain don’t know each other in real life, it dilutes the effectiveness of this feature because they are unable to vouch for each other. For more on my LinkedIn philosophy, see my post To Connect or Not to Connect: The Rules of LinkedIn.
  • Twitter: My love affair with Twitter is well-known. I see it as the most open of all the social networks. I welcome any and all follows that are not porn bots 🙂  Unless you have a closed account, you can’t control who follows you, so I don’t think it reflects on you (in contrast to LinkedIn, for example, where you have to make a decision whether to accept or reject a connection). As for who I follow: if I am interested in the content of the tweets, I will follow the person. I see Twitter as more about content than relationships (in contrast again to LinkedIn).
  • Foursquare: I sometimes get requests from strangers on FourSquare, which I decline. I share the check-ins that I want others to see on Twitter, but I prefer only my friends to see some, so I think it’s important to keep this network closed.
  • Facebook: As Vicki said, Facebook is for your real friends. 100% agreed! As I said in my comment to her, I see it as the only place on the internet where I can be my 22 (almost 23!) year old self. One thing that makes it slightly more complicated: Raleigh networking is very casual, so sometimes the line between friend and acquaintance blurs. In the past year, I’ve begun accepting business contacts, which I have mixed feelings about.
  • Pinterest: I’m not sharing anything particularly personal, so I’m flattered when people follow my boards. I follow boards of friends and other people that I stumble upon 🙂
  • Blog: The more the merrier!

Clearly, I approach each social media platform differently. I think it’s important to do so because they all have unique missions and features that make them more fitting for one kind of relationship over another (i.e. LinkedIn provides more value to business relationships than friendships). If I were to approach each platform in the same way, I may as well just be using one, right?

Where do you stand? Why? Do you approach social media as a whole or platform by platform? 

Thank you to Vicki for prompting such an interesting discussion!

great things that have come from twitter

Hearing people dismiss Twitter as pointless or a waste of time works me up. I always want to sit the person down and tell them all the great things that have happened to me as a result of using Twitter- now I’ll just direct them to this blog post!

——————-

I tweeted a link to my blog post reviewing Garden Lite gluten-free frozen meals; they responded back offering me a discount code for my readers.

I was put in touch with Sara of Watermelon Roses through Twitter. She is now my friend, interior decorator, blog designer, tennis partner, kickball teammate, and comedy show attending buddy!

I tweeted Asurion- my phone insurance company- and they responded back almost immediately and I ended up with an upgrade to a newer phone model.

I tweeted Sitti, a downtown Raleigh Lebanese restaurant as I crossed the street from my office. As soon as I sat down, the manager came over to our table, mentioned that he saw my tweet, and ended up bringing over a few appetizers on the house for our table.

I interviewed with a very cool social enterprise organization when I was still in college; they had already heard of the social enterprise student organization that I co-founded because we had a  Twitter presence. I think knowing that I was engaging online was a big reason they extended an offer to me (unfortunately, I had to pass on the offer).

I found out about Osama bin Laden before my friends who were watching major TV stations.

I’ve found a vet, great restaurants, cool things to do in Raleigh, good gluten-free options, and awesome advice simply by tweeting out a question or monitoring what was being said on my home feed. But the kicker?

The Raleigh Forum started because of Twitter. Before I moved to Raleigh, I shot a tweet into the supposed dark hole of Twitter asking about coworking spaces in the area. Derrick Minor of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance saw my tweet and ended up hooking us up with several local resources, including our current leasing company. If that’s not proof of Twitter’s potential, I don’t know what is!

Any awesome/random/exciting things that have happened to you because of Twitter? 

how to efficiently monitor content on the web

1) Google Reader: I use Google Reader as both as professional and personal (read: blog) resource. I subscribe to interesting blogs and websites, then check in 1-2 times per day to read up on my new content. High on my list: Lifehacker, The Kitchn, The Everygirl, and a billion lifestyle/cooking blogs (including all the blog girls!). I love that you can star posts to refer back to at a later time. You can also create folders to group subscriptions by topic (e.g. design, fashion, cooking, work, etc).

2) Google Alerts: I mentioned awhile back how important it is to monitor the internet for references to yourself. But you can also use Google Alerts to search for miscellaneous content across the web- I have an alert set up for “social recruiting” and one for “Boolean AND recruiting” so I can stay up-to-date on the recruiting field. The best part? You can have all Google Alert content sent directly to your Google Reader (see above!).

3) Twitter: I’m obsessed with Twitter and everyone knows it! Without harping on all the benefits, I’ll leave you with two tips: use lists to filter content by user (I have a ton set up but don’t actually use them often). In addition, save searches and check them regularly (I have “The Raleigh Forum, “Raleigh coworking,” and “#socialrecruiting,” among others).

4) LinkedIn: LinkedIn Today is daily news based on your profile details and interests- I always find one or two interesting articles when I browse! Yet another incentive to keep your profile up-to-date…

Staying on top of news and content in my fields (yes, that’s plural!), in addition to browsing interesting content just for the heck of it, is an important part of my daily routine. I love having a little system in place to do it effectively.

How do you efficiently and effectively monitor for interesting content on the internet?

Source: weheartit.com via Debbie on Pinterest

public criticism: a do or a don’t?

The idea of public criticism has been tumbling around in my head for many months, but the catalyst for this post was the recent Triangle bloggers’ potluck.

Public criticism of businesses and individuals has become somewhat of a norm as Twitter continues to grow, blogging becomes more mainstream, and small businesses embrace social media.

I myself {what a redundant phrase!} have engaged in this trend. When Maddie was sick, I had a terrible experience with a local vet. After dealing with the situation- including finding a new vet- I reviewed the original vet on Google. I felt it was important for other pet owners to be aware of the negative {and potentially dangerous} experience I had.

I’m less proud of other times that I’ve publicly bashed a local company. After perusing a cute retail store, I left in a huff and immediately tweeted about the terrible service I received. To the owner’s credit, they found my email and sent me a message addressing the situation. Guess what I did? Nothing. I was too embarrassed about my behavior to respond. That was almost a year ago and I still think about it.

Several things have made me reconsider my perspective lately: as a small business owner, I know how hurtful it can be to think about negative information circulating about The Raleigh Forum. I know that there are always two sides to the story that a negative review or comment may not address. Additionally, Raleigh is small enough that you are likely to run into the very owner that you publicly chastised, which leads to excessive and unnecessary awkwardness.

But like I said, the blog potluck got me thinking even more. At the potluck, someone mentioned a hate website devoted to mocking big bloggers {I refuse to link to it}.  I think the supposed anonymity of the internet makes people feel more comfortable participating in cyber-bullying without pausing to think about the bloggers’ feelings. Another prime case study on cyber-bullying? The disheartening Juicy Campus fiasco.

I’m torn because it’s a complicated issue but here’s where I think I stand: A good rule of thumb is to first contact the business or individual privately. Admittedly,  some businesses are more responsive when criticism is made public. The idea that their brand is being publicly disparaged is often a more prompt catalyst for change than a private phone call or email, so I do think there are times when it is appropriate to take to social media to leave feedback.

Another good rule of thumb- act under the expectation that your tweet, review, comment, etc will be seen by the owner, CEO, or blogger- and that your name will be attached to it. Does that change the way you interact when your anonymity is taken away and you consider the feelings of the person receiving the feedback? I guarantee you that even the most popular bloggers have feelings too and are affected by hurtful, mean-spirited comments.

But remember my Ask and You Shall Receive post from awhile back? I stated that if you are willing to broadcast negative feedback, you should go out of your way to give positive feedback. For every negative comment I publicize, I’m sure to share my positive experiences too {like my endless love affair with Al Fresco chicken sausages}.

What do you think?  Is public criticism sometimes warranted or should feedback only be given privately?

P.S. Right after I scheduled this post,  I got a reply tweet from Raleigh author Sarah Shaber saying thank you for my tweet complimenting her novel. See? I do give positive feedback 🙂

an ode to sausages + a review

My sister mentioned that she wanted to eat more protein, so I mentioned that chicken sausages are a good option- which reminded me of one company’s superior social media strategy.

Awhile back, I tweeted this:

And got back this response from Al Fresco, an all-natural sausage company:

Notice that they didn’t say “Next time make it with Al Fresco gourmet sausages.” Just a simple, friendly acknowledgment of my great recipe- but now I associate their company name with sausage recipes. Genius, right?

Because I respect and admire a company with an interactive social media presence, I decided to give their sausages a taste. I bought the buffalo style ones, which are “tangy with medium heat” and gluten-free! Yum- everyone knows my obsession with buffalo. I sauteed the sausage with onions and peppers, placed it on top of gluten-free bread, and drizzled it with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce. The only thing missing? Ranch!

Photo credit

So kudos to Al Fresco- you’ve gained a loyal customer from Twitter {see guys? It is important in business}.

For more sausage recipes, check out:

Top 10 Places An Unmarried Young Woman Should Never Check In on FourSquare

Survey says….

Ever had one of those “Hahaha….but seriously” moments? Well, here you go! As I was checking in to Humble Pie at brunch the other day, my friends and I started brainstorming places where FourSquare should probably not be used.

Top 10 Places An Unmarried Young Woman Should Never Check In on FourSquare

  • Your house {safety first!}
  • The bathroom
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Strip club
  • Engagement ring store
  • Bridal store
  • Jail**
  • Rehab**
  • A competitor’s office {while interviewing}**
  • Anywhere other than your house if you call in sick**

We came up with most of the list but I had a little extra help from here (the asterisked ones)!

Haha, young social media addicts- take note!

This Day Last Year: Ahh my aptly named post Best Meal of My Life. Now I just need to buy a gluten-free spinach ricotta ravioli, like this.