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Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

Where Would You Be Today Without Social Media Tools?

    Social media is becoming completely integrated in our lives.  It has altered the way we communicate as human beings

      and changed the way we do business.  It has flattened corporate hierarchies and tightened our relationships.  Of course, traditional ways of networking and messaging still hold true, such as text messaging, email, phone calls and in-person “meetups” (tweetups in the social media world).  The greatest part about this technological alteration is that you get to choose which social networks you want to participate in, how much time you spend per week engaging with others and what your career aspirations are (and how these tools can get you from point A to B).  The decision is yours and the power is in your hands. From a business standpoint, social media tools are free advertising and allow you to target and measure the impact of marketing programs.  From the individual perspective, these tools can literally regulate your day-to-day operations and routines.

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      What social media tools are there?

        There is a social media tool to satisfy every type of person.  Of course, there are the industry titans such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube.  There are others that are still commonly used and well-known, such as Delicious, Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, and Flickr.  These tools can help you regulate your life if they are paired together.  For instance, I use Google reader in combination with Delicious to sort through articles and save my favorite ones.  From there, I can link to those saved articles on my blog or push them out through Twitter.

        Our habits have changed because of the social revolution/evolution. I bet you wake up each morning and check your RSS feeds instead of navigating through the WSJ or Us Weekly.  What’s the point of going to all these sites, when the information can travel right to your “doorstep.”  In some ways, social media has made us lazier, yet it has made us more productive simultaneously.  If you have a question you want answered, all it takes it one tweet.  Twitter has become the ultimate customer service machine (ask Comcast or GoDaddy).

        Need to book a flight, peruse reviews of destinations and mingle with fellow travelers, then join travbuddy.com.  Do you go to Church?  Yes, there’s even a social network for people who go to Church.  For all you knitters and crocheters out there, there is a social network for you at ravelry.com.  You can manage and live your entire life online now with all of these tools.  Of course, I would recommend that you get out there and meet people because reality always trumps virtual reality.

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        What the experts are saying

          After speaking to a diverse group of social media experts, I’ve come to a few major conclusions.  The first is that social media has enabled us to connect to many people across the world, without much effort.  Without that level of connectivity, it’s harder to make new friends and keep in touch with previous acquaintances.

          Also, the feelings and emotions that these bloggers get from participating in social media keeps them active.  When you take away these social tools, it hurts productivity and it simply makes life a lot more dull.  Your life is made up of relationships that you grow like plants and when they blossom, new opportunities surface. Social media tools create an environment where you can develop more relationships, with people who have common interests.  If you don’t believe me, then here’s what the experts say:

          “A social media free Web would be quieter and less fun – more about finding information than it would be about gaining and nurturing relationships, forcing us to find digital connections, instead of personal connections, to achieve our goal.”

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          “Without the help of social media I would probably not have connected with so many people or gotten a whiff of so many exciting ideas and opportunities.”

          “I would be 20% more productive but have 20% less friends!”

          “Instead of fun-filled moments connecting with friends, downtime would be sadly predictable and stunningly boring.”

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          “Without social media tools, I would be doing one of two things:  A) sitting at my desk, listening to crickets chirp, waiting for my phone to ring or B) watching my small children cry after me as I headed to the airport once again, to do face-to-face consulting.”

          “Without social media I’d be relegated to doing business one phone call at a time, one e-mail at a time and one deal at a time. It provides an exponentially flowing opportunity to reach thousands in an instant, while adding a human element.”

          “Without social media tools, I’d feel like the anchor on local TV news, simply broadcasting the news rather than interacting and building community around it.”

          • Adam Ostrow, editor-in-chief, Mashable

          “Without social media I’d have a less geographically diverse group of friends, but also a tighter circle of really good friends locally.”

          Now it’s your turn!

          You’ve heard from me and some well-known social media experts.  It’s your turn to think hard about what social media tools have done for you. How might life be different right now without them?  Could you live without your Facebook profile and friends?  What would you resort to?  Would you be sending more emails or calling your friends more?  Remember that you can always unplug…

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          Dan Schawbel

          Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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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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