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9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Social Media

9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Social Media

Get the Most Out of Social Media

    I recently had the opportunity to talk with social media expert Muhammad Saleem about social networking. For those of you new to the site, I interviewed Muhammad back in February on Lifehack Live.

    Muhammad is the one to watch in the social media sphere. He’s a top-ranked user on Digg, Propellr, Reddit, and other social news sites, he has almost 2000 followers on Twitter, and he blogs or contributes guest posts just about everywhere. He is jsut the person I wanted to talk to about making the most of social networking services like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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    Although I wasn’t interviewing him for Lifehack, in the course of the conversation Muhammad gave a good number of tips on how best to approach and use social media sites. We talked for over an hour, but I’ve boiled his advice down to the following nine points.

    1. Permission

    Almost all social media sites, from Digg to Twitter, have some way for users to control who can and cannot reach them. These are minimal standards, though — all they do is open a channel. Don’t abuse people by trying to fake them out or overwhelming them with updates — they’ll just close the door entirely.

    2. Relevance

    Don’t add relationships willy-nilly. Limit your “friends” or “connections” or whatever they’re called on your favorite social media site to people who share at least some of the same interests as you. And be selective when sending out “shouts” or “DMs” or whatever you send — send updates to people for whom they are meaningful, not everyone you just happen to have some connection with.

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    3. Relationships

    It should go without saying that to make the best use of a social network, you have to network, but a lot of people seem to want to do an end-run around that. Building relationships starts with a friend request or invite  — it doesn’t end there. Get to know the people you are connected with. Answer their questions, send them a link or piece of information now and again, and read their profiles.

    4. Integrity

    Don’t be phony! Be yourself — it’s what your social network friends added you for. There are, of course, many ways to “game” just about every social media system, to get more diggs, to appear to have more followers, to get your posts Stumbled, and so on. But in the end, it’s an empty gain — people who follow you because you appear to be something you’re not will quickly un-follow you, people who end up at your site because you managed to get more votes on a post than you deserve will leave without reading, and all you’ll have is an empty number to show off.

    5. Focus

    Signing up for social networking sites and social news sites is easy, but unless you’re willing to put in some work, you won’t get much out of it. You need to keep your profile reasonably up-to-date, maintain at least a marginally active presence, and talk to other people now and again to make it work. If you have a hundred different profiles on a hundred different sites, you’ll soon get overwhelmed and none of them will get the attention they need to thrive. Pick a handful of services and sites to put a lot of energy into — or however many you have time to really commit to — and stay off the rest.

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    6. Diversify

    That said, don’t participate in too few sites, either. First of all, if you slip up and damage your reputation at one, you’ll have to start from scratch somewhere else. But more importantly, different sites have different strengths. LinkedIn is best for professional advance, MySpace for broadcasting your interests and creative work; Digg is traditionally better suited to news, especially technology and weird stuff, StumbleUpon to smaller niches.

    7. Personality

    Social networking is about connections between people, not profiles. Make use of the means for self-expression offered by each service — whether that’s the way you summarize stories for social news sites, or a blogging platform, or feeds integrated from your non-social network sites. Worry less about finding the perfect background or your 5 favorite songs and more about creating something people want to pay attention to.

    8. Giving

    You have to put into social networks in order to get out from them. This is basic human nature — anthropologists call it “reciprocity”. If you want recommendations on LinkedIn, start writing some — people will usually return the favor. If you want followers on Twitter, start following people — again, people will usually return the favor. Once you do something for someone, they will generally want to do something for you in return. But you have to take the lead.

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    9. Add Value

    This is the single most important thing to remember on any social networking site. Do whatever it takes to make your posts, your profile, your story submissions, or whatever the “currency” of the site it, as valuable as possible. You add value when you submit a link; you add more value when you include a really good description of the article; you add more value still when you explain why I would want to read it; and you add yet more value when you tell me what the author left out or how the information might be used.

    Social media sites can be great ways to promote a brand, promote your business, find clients, get jobs, find new employees, and build personal relationships, but they don’t “just work”. They’re tools, not machines — you have to use them, not put in some inputs and wait for them to do their magic. Keep the 9 principles above in mind, and you’ll find that people start responding pretty quick — after all, they’re there for the same reason you are, to find people whose interests mesh with their own.

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    Last Updated on March 30, 2020

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

    Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

    You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

    This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

    What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

    Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

    There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

    How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

    When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

    Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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    1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

    One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

    The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

    Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

    2. Be Honest

    A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

    If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

    On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

    Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

    3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

    Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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    If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

    4. Succeed at Something

    When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

    Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

    5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

    Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

    Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

    If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

    If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

    Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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    6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

    Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

    You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

    On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

    You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

    7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

    Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

    Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

    Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

    When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

    Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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    In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

    Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

    It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

    Final Thoughts

    When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

    The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

    Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

    Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

    Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

    More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

    Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
    [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
    [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
    [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
    [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
    [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
    [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
    [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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