Foster New Knowledge, Talk Out Loud
Lately it seems folks are so obsessed with “doing it right” and being heard that they have forgotten how to listen and how to respond. Don’t get lost in “best practices”. Learn to listen, and try to follow my lead (or the lead of whoever is talking).
My biggest word of advice for today is to consider how a question is being asked or a thought presented in social media. Often, I will ask a question of Twitter, or in my Facebook status. I do this publicly to not only receive help myself, but to have the help I receive also help others.
If you answer those public questions in a private manner, no one learns from our conversation. You are robbing people in both of our networks of information they may want or need. So if you see me ask a question on Twitter out loud, and I don’t put “DM me” anywhere in the tweet, I want to be answered out loud as well so others can benefit.
The same applies to Facebook, or Friendfeed, or anywhere else I am online. I often use questions to start a learning process, and statements of opinion to open discussions to the world. I know I’m not the only one. So use that as a chance to be helpful, and to educate. Generate that social media knowledge base and trust network that so many of us are here to foster.
Some may say that’s noisy. It is, but it is useful noise. Useful noise is beautiful noise, and you can ride its wave to a new understanding of something, or someone. Sure, if you want to thank me for a RT, or for following you back somewhere, or for sharing something you wrote, those are fantastic examples of private conversations in which a Facebook message or Twitter DM may be better suited. But if I ask for local bands for a BBQ, replying in private message does nothing to help promote that band or share with us what makes them special the way a reply out loud would.
How are you listening, and are you answering out loud to build a web of trust?