Monday, April 4, 2011

Building Relationships through Social Media

The life of a computer enthusiast is not complete without engaging in social media. With over 20 million Filipinos going online every day, sharing and learning is never ending via Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and more. Whatever our reasons are for signing up to these different channels, we need to remember that building relationship is the cornerstone of social media.

We’ve invested time, money, and effort going online to connect to different people and find interesting things that will enrich our knowledge. But how do we exactly distinguish ourselves from the vast majority of online users who think that social networking is “just for fun” (though of course it’s fun too)? Allow me to list down some of my learning throughout the years.

Know your purpose. In a typical situation, there are two schools of thought regarding accepting requests: (1) build a limited, small but strong community of colleagues, friends, and relatives or (2) accept everyone who puts effort in adding you up to create a fan base and a huge network for sharing. Which one is your intention?

Complete your profile. You’d be surprised at how many profiles today have never been completed. People want to know you inasmuch as you want to connect and get to know other people. It’s not enough to just tick all the boxes (I’m a Sagittarius, in a relationship, etc.), because the more important meat of the profile is the ‘About Me’ section. Put some effort and thought on interesting facts you would like other users to remember you.

Don’t just sit on there. At times we feel so much relaxed or lazy; we tend to just wait for people to add us up, for bloggers to leave comments or for strangers to message us. Opportunities and relationships won’t pour over you without you putting any effort in the first place. I suggest you take the initiative to get to know people, to use important websites and apps or to join events in order to widen your horizon.

Update regularly. Aside from completing your profile, set a few minutes of every day (or every other day) to update your accounts and blogs. People won’t get interested if they don’t see any updates from you at all. Signing up is not the end of it – just like working – you don’t stop after being hired. But please, do not over update, because people might get irritated at you. Everything in excess is bad.

Add everyone you know. Most sites these days have the capability of scanning through your address book and processing your current friends to get possible connections. It’s not important whether the site is suggesting a friend from elementary or a long distant colleague – add them up no matter how distant their relationships are with you. Even if the degree of closeness is just minimal, include them in your list too, as long as you have an idea of who they are. Besides, the purpose of social networking is to reconnect with the often-invisible people, right?

Participate and contribute. The Internet is made to build communities and relationships. Participate in forums, discussions, and tweetups. Read interesting articles and share them to the people connected to you. Share more than just what you’re doing or where you are going. Contributing to the community is a great way to spread the knowledge and to earn followers too. You’d be amazed at how fast word-of-mouth can do, especially online.

Social networking has a reputation as a time waster, and I believe most of us will agree. However, when we put a purpose and we give an effort to maximize the potentials of social media, there’s a huge possibility that it can help us realize what it can do for us in exchange.

This article is my ninth contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on April 04, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: Manila Bulletin


Speaking of relationships...Sometimes I get shocked how my friends are connected to each other online now. Some of my offline friends/colleagues have become popular bloggers so they know each other because they see each other in events etc. Wala lang, it's like the world became smaller and smaller and you can't escape anyone. Haha!

"Know your purpose" is definitely a necessary step one. "Don't just sit on there" made me laugh. And it's good to be constantly be reminded to "participate and contribute". Thanks, Glenn!

totally agree! Social media sites has been a very important way of communication especially to my friends abroad so we can always stay connected.

I liked this part of your article: "Besides, the purpose of social networking is to reconnect with the often-invisible people, right?" This is true.. 

my comment on  "complete your profile" - its because some profiles are incomplete and hidden because they are just dummy accounts that are being used for likes contests har!har!

This is true because it's what's 'in' for our society nowadays, but I still do hope that (on another note) there are still face-to-face encounters for people who are near each other because that experience is different. XD

One other thing to add is that you should find people with same interest that you have, this way you will be talking in the same language. :)

So true, I want to build relationships online too the problem is dividing time to post and to do those stuff is difficult.

So true! I find may profiles to be blank, because they just use it to join contests.

Agree. Face to face encounters should be forgotten

That's one, but not necessary. Because it's with diverse thoughts that we get to learn new things.

I don't think it's hard if you prioritize things well.

Great read. I like the participate and contribute, we can use the power of the internet to go make a change--through sharing important facts, airing out our opinion and encouraging others to do the same.:)

The first point you made is great. Personally I use different social media sites for different purposes, and thus different audiences. My FB is mostly for people I know, meanwhile I don't restrict who gets to see or follow me on Twitter. 

I kinda don't like the feature where they can scan your e-mail account for people to add... it feels like it's invading your privacy and who knows what they are really scanning for... hehehe

Since I am a stay at home mum, I only get a chance to connect with my friends thru Facebook. It's nice to know that even we can't see each other we still have the chance to communicate. :)

Social Networking really helps a Pamilyang OFW like me to touch bases with OFW hubby. 

Likewise, it is also a big help in promoting my blogs that I am also monetizing...

That's the beauty of technology :D

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