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Social Software As Connection Gateways

Social Software As Connection Gateways

Why do people bother with MySpace?

I’ll tell you why: people can make connections and communicate and open dialogue. By “adding friends” and building your space, and adding multimedia, and using the tools on there, you can establish connections.

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The benefit of using this social sharing sites (Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIN, Upcoming.org, etc, etc, etc) is that you get a different, digital connection to people. Some are people you’ve not met that you could stand to meet. Some are people you WISH you could connect with, but don’t have direct access. Others will come in and find you without you even doing a thing. (These last ones are often the best, because their quirky ways make for even more energized connections later on.)

Oh, and every one of these sites, properly used, adds to Google juice such that people can find you easily, should you want to be found. My MySpace page refers people to my primary blog, as well as my job and other things I want to highlight. My accounts on Flickr and other sites show up fairly prominently in Google, adding ways that people who are looking for me can find me, and open conversation channels to me.

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Here are some thoughts and tips:

  • Tidy Up Your Blog– Make sure there’s clear contact info for you on your blog. Add a picture of yourself, if you can. Personal is the new black. Give email contact, and if you’re daring, give out your phone number, so people can truly reach out if they’d like.
  • Communicate Who You Are– Through sites like MySpace, that allow for pictures, movies, audio clips, and more, you can build quite a colorful scrapbook of who you are and what matters to you. This helps people realize that you’re a lot like them. Ditto Flickr. My Flickr photos show you that I’m a dad, that I love my family, but that I travel around for lots of events, as well. It shares a story.
  • Use Twitter to be Ultra CurrentTwitter is a neat “what are you doing right now?” tool. You build an account, add friends, and then you can send updates from the web, from your IM client, and from your phone via SMS. There’s a badge (a little piece of code) you can add to your blog or MySpace to let people not using Twitter see your updates. And you can send direct messages to anyone on your friends list. (Another way to reach people).
  • List Events using Eventful or Upcoming.org– I’ve used both. This tool lets you build events, invite people, and then let folks track them. You can build profiles, including friends lists, so that when your friends are going to events, you’ll be aware, and you can decide if the event suits you. Kind of a “Don’t leave me home while you have fun” tool. I think this would be useful for people attending conferences, or who have lots of meetups for their industry.
  • Fill out your profiles– On all these sites, there are places to throw in profile information. If you can, link back to your main website or blog. Also add pictures where you can. It allows a more human connection. Give as many thoughts and ideas as to why someone should connect with you as possible, and it will improve your ability to gather people to your cause.
  • Comment on blogs you like often– This is another tip to get people connected to you via social tools. If you’re a long time lurker, introduce yourself. It’s great to see who’s reading a blog (believe me), and often, interesting friendships, and even business exchanges, occur.
  • Don’t forget YouTubeYouTube is one of the most misunderstood pieces of software out there. It’s not TV. It’s a video sharing platform. Record whatever you want. But here’s a trick: why not record a video saying who you are, what you’re into, or what you do for work. Why not make it interesting, funny, or relevant? Post it, and then post the link to the video on your blog and your MySpace. A video greeting, so to speak, does wonders for adding some dimension to who you are.
  • Try out the new stuff– It’s the first of the year. Let’s make this an idea to consider for 2007. Why not try out the new things you hear about? Maybe not EVERY single one, but why not give the “early adopter” role a try for a while. You’ll meet more interesting people, and people end up being the core of what you need to do in most businesses. True?

What this has to do with hacking life

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A lot of what we think about at the beginning of the year involves self-improvement. We think about losing weight, about finally implementing David Allen’s book, about making the 8th Habit our most important habit. But these are all standalone, non-social goals for the most part. They’re all part of being READY to do bigger things, but they often force our eyes and hearts inward.

I believe the exact opposite should happen early on in the year. BUILD. Build collaborations and connections. Give people the ability to connect with you. And that will become a force multiplier. Know what you bring to the picnic, and then see who else is coming. I think you’ll find the results interesting.

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Chris Brogan keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com]. He is Community Developer for Network2, a guide to the best Internet TV, and to a conference in March called Video on the Net. If you want to connect with Chris on most any software mentioned above, his username is: chrisbrogan.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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