It’s a small world after all*, part 2

Dutch Children Sing "It's a Small World"

In “It’s a small world after all, part 1,” we talked about how social media connects people in ways that weren’t possible until recently, and focused especially on Twitter. In this post, we continue the conversation.

Through Facebook I have connected more solidly with my friends

Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with old friends from high school and college that I haven’t seen for nearly 40 years, and I get to socialize with current friends much more than I otherwise would, since everyone is always on the run and time for “real world” socializing is short. I have also found some folks who share professional interests, but Facebook is mainly about fun and socializing for me.

Though it took me a year to start using it, up until about last October it was the social medium I turned to most. I connect with co-workers here, but more on a “water cooler” level–valuable, but a different sort of thing than the other two services we’re considering here.

Through LinkedIn I’m expanding professional connections

I joined LinkedIn in February 2007, about the same time I joined Facebook. Again, it mostly sat there unused until about last November.

For a long time, all I knew to do with it was to respond to invitation to connect, and to occasionally send one, usually with co-workers, sometimes with people I used to work with. I didn’t see the sense in it, since I wasn’t job-hunting, and I didn’t intend to be. Yes, you may scoff at my ignorance, and quote the old adage to “dig your well before you’re thirsty.” That certainly is a wise thing, but fortunately I haven’t found myself in that position yet. Just out of “you never know,” I’m sprucing up the resume and background on LinkedIn.

But it’s useful for lots of stuff other than job-hunting.

Whether we’re talking about shared interests in speaking, or higher education, or fly fishing, or crocheting, these tools give us the means to create genuine community. I am old-fashioned enough to still prefer face-to-face interaction, but I’d much rather have virtual interaction than to miss out on the growth, connection, sharing of ideas, and friendship social media makes possible. If you’re still trying to figure out “what’s it for,” try approaching it with the more focused question: “How do I use this to find my tribe?”

*I apologize to those of you in whom I just induced a never-ending song loop. (If you’ve wondered what that is called, welcome to a new term: earworm.)

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Author: Donn King

Donn King works with people who want to forge top-notch speaking skills to increase their influence and impact so they can advance their career or business. He is associate professor of communication studies at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee, as well as a speaker and writer. His background includes ministry, newspaper, radio, small magazines and other publications, as well as co-authoring a textbook and blogging.