I did not learn how to drive until I was 22. Benefit of living in a big city. Some of my friends have never even driven a car.
As you can see I take my time and fully analyze things. I am also notoriously private. Then along came social media.
I listened to colleagues harp about social media for months…six to be exact. The first time I participated in social media was like standing on the edge of a high dive; toes hanging just over the edge. I dove right in and thanks to Michael Long‘s guidance I have tweeted over 2,000 times and have over 1,000 followers. Overall I have learned some amazing lessons.
Recently at the 2011 HR Florida Leadership Conference, I overheard an attendee state that he did not believe in or participate in social media. He believes in personal contact instead. This individual obviously does not get it. Through my experience, I have learned just how up close and personal social media really is.
In the fall of 2010 I attended the annual leadership conference of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). While walking across the hotel lobby I heard someone shout out “Heart of HR.” At first it did not register and then when it clicked I slowly looked around thinking wait, that’s me! It was John Jorgenson, director of the Illinois SHRM State Council, who I had never met in person before but grew to know through social media. Social media enhances interpersonal relationships through collaboration. In most cases you gain a keen sense of who a follower may be before you ever meet them. The Twitter community is an amazing support group and as collaborative as one can get!
Facebook worked its way into my routine when the HR Certification Institute created their page. As the certification director for the HR Florida State Council, I just had to join. Can you imagine how scary those first steps were for me? I did not know what to expect. After a short while no “alarms” were going off so I was not sure if I was actually out there live in the Facebook sphere. That was until the children of my best friend found me and started conversations. I realized how much fun it was to participate, even at a personal level. I am more connected than I have ever been and I love it.
Social media does not replace face to face connections. It is a forum for creating, enhancing and keeping up the engagement. After 11 years of volunteering in a human resources certification role (I’m still volunteering with HR Certification Institute, but I am behind the scenes now) it is now obvious to me that the positives of utilizing social media far outweigh the negatives. In the past I realize how difficult it was at times to communicate with certification chairs across the state of Florida. Now as I transition into a membership retention role for HR Florida I am excited to work with my counterpart Kay Wilson, who will be focusing on member recruitment, to connect and engage with our leaders very differently in 2011. With the help of social media we will be rolling out a special membership initiative we have been working on for some time. It will include a strategic planning work book and tips related to marketing chapters to business executives. We hope that through social media we will be able to reach a much broader audience and continue to enhance the human resource profession. Part of our inspiration came from Ben Eubanks’ free eBook “Rock Your Chapter”, which is a must read for every SHRM chapter’s board of directors.
In the grand scheme of things, I realize that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to social media. There is an entire community ready to share their knowledge and insights immediately. In building relationships through social media, we help each other. The goal is to continue the conversation off line and in person. Without social media, I never would have met all of the wonderful, bright and talented people that made this post possible. Social media is an amazing vehicle that allows us to form relationships in a way never possible before. Together, we all can go from “good to great” faster.
Image by avrene