Facebook was a place I went to see what my, then, teenage children were up to and keep up with the activities of family and friends. For a long time I shared very little of myself on there.
I created a twitter account, then hardly ever went there again, I love to write so 140 characters seemed so restrictive! I joined up with FourSquare, created this blogger account, and eventually got myself a Google+ account. I did not see any connection between these sites and my professional reputation. They were just an interesting distraction. I notice that I set up this blogger account in 2008, wrote a couple of posts in a personal blog and then did nothing until this month when I decided it was time to start sharing my ideas on service management.
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So I came home from Louisville and looked a bit more closely at my social identity. I had set up two Facebook accounts, one for business and one for personal so that I could separate the two parts of my life, but I realised that was pointless and actually just served to dilute my online presence. I still have the second account, but I have largely abandoned using it and I simply use the rules in Facebook to determine what various groups of people can see of my updates.
I started tweeting, pretty much exclusively when I was at events, so it was a bit spasmodic. I followed a few people, mostly ITSM related, along with a few writer blogs and I gathered some followers...not sure why as I really didn't do much on Twitter at all. But I was really just playing with social media still.
Fast forward to August of 2012 and the itSMF Australia LeadIT12 event. One of the pre-conference workshops was Chris Dancy speaking on Digital Literacy in 2012. Half a day with Chris made me realise that I needed to stop toying with social media and start using it to create and enhance my digital identity, establish my professional reputation and network with colleagues in ITSM globally.
I signed up to Klout and found that my score was not too shabby - for someone who hadn't been trying - at 50. I guess I must have been doing something right, even if I had no idea what that was. Since attending that workshop I have coaxed my Klout score up to 58, and it is rising every day.
Earlier this year I joined the Back2ITSM group on Facebook. This is a group of ITSM professionals dedicated to giving back to the industry, sharing the knowledge they have gained through their experience. I did contribute, when I really felt I had something to offer, but I was generally a lurker and consumer of information. I felt just a little intimidated by the industry stature of the people who regularly post in this, extremely valuable, forum. I have now changed my mindset, and I hope some of the other lurkers on that group will do the same. We all have something to offer, whether you are a CIO, service desk analyst, consultant...or even a vendor, the wisdom you have gathered during your time in the industry is worth sharing. We don't all agree with each other, and sometimes the conversations can get heated, but there is a true respect for the collective wisdom that is available there. Your "aha" moments may very well be just as seminal to another ITSM professional in the group, so I urge you to get on the keyboard and share, even if it is only to say "yes, I agree" or to simply click the "like" button.
As I mentioned earlier, I did not really see the point in Twitter initially, but after spending the past week really looking at the information that comes through that channel, I have found that the bulk of my reading material is coming from there, I have started sharing my thoughts and articles I have found regularly, my follower numbers have more than doubled in a week and I would say that - right now - I get the most value from my social networks via Twitter and Back2ITSM on Facebook.
Linked-In is not providing me with the same value currently. I belong to a wide range of groups on this site, and the majority of what I get is spam. I plan on going through each group I belong to over the next week and removing myself from any that are not providing me with information I can use. Linked-In does hold the most comprehensive information about me, my career, and recommendations from people I have worked with, and for, over the years, so it is personally valuable to me, but I do not believe that I am gaining a lot of value from the other members of this community.
This is definitely a journey that I have just started, and I am sure I will learn a lot more along the way, and I know that there will be new technologies in the social sphere that will continue to change the way we see ourselves and the world we live in. I like to research, so I am sure that I will have a lot more "aha" moments in the weeks to come as I really try to get. to grips with the "social" me.
So, what have I learned?
- I actually do know stuff that people want to read about
- There is a huge amount of information flying around the various networks, you have to learn to filter it, otherwise you can waste hours, or even days reading what hits your various social accounts
- You have to take note of who you are actually sharing with...do you know who is reading each of your Facebook updates...check the settings, set up groups for the various types of posts you make. Understand how the rules work and post appropriately for the people you are targeting
- Make sure that each of your various accounts links back to you...your social reputation scores via site like Klout and Kred are becoming increasingly important, and they are available to your future potential employers or customers
- Our world is changing, and rapidly, if we don't pay attention to being "social" we run the risk of being yesterday's news
- Be yourself and always tell the truth, if you don't, there will be someone out there who will catch you out
- The six degrees of separation no longer exists, there are probably one 1 or 2 degrees of separation between you and any other socially connected person on the planet (in truth, they probably don't even need to be socially connected themselves, they just need to know somebody who is)
- Be nice to your connections....if you like what they are saying, comment, or indicate that you agree with them. If they share something interesting on Twitter, retweet...this all helps their social reputation scores, and hopefully they will repay the favour!
We all need to be using social media, but we need to use it in such a way that enhances rather than depreciates our social reputation.
So here I am...
Twitter - @kirstiemagowan