Friday, March 21, 2008

Hello, Will You Be My Friend?

by Karen D. Swim

Hello, my name is Karen will you be my friend? As I increase my use of social media I find myself asking some form of this question everyday. Writing the great american novel is a piece of cake compared to coming up with clever yet professional ways to ask someone to connect!

Social medial is a bit like professional dating. At least I think it is like dating, hmm, can't be sure. Anyway, to fully participate in social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Ning, etc.- you must invite others to join you.

Some people seem to be very good at it. They effortlessly reach across the cyber miles with a cool invite that seems to say "I'm bold and confident and of course you'll accept," while still managing to be a friendly invitation.

I on the other hand love talking to people but still maintain the shyness of my childhood when I must do the inviting. I was the kid who loved celebrating other people's birthdays but was way to shy to shine the light on myself for my birthday.

Luckily for me, there are the wonderful givers who point the way. I've had people invite me to join them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. With each new invitation, I use the burst of confidence to do some invites of my own (stomach quivering wondering if they'll accept!).

So many have shared their insights and taught me how to participate, people like Jason Alba, Jeremy Roberts, Dave Mendoza and Dr. Sally Witt. Heather Gardner will excitedly tweet or email me to graciously introduce me to someone who will be of help to me. These people and so many more are so willing to open their networks and take you under your wing and show you the way.

I will probably always feel like a geek when making invites but I am learning to take the risk. I would rather embrace the fear of my inner 5 year old and extend the hand of participation in spite of it than miss the opportunity to connect with great new people. So thanks to those who dared to allow me to connect and to all of you who keep showing me the way. I am learning and loving it.

If you're like me and a little bit shy, send me an invite and I promise to accept and to share with you what I've learned from others.

Have a Happy Good Friday!


Photo credit: Justin Ultra, Flickr


Jeremy Roberts said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog :)

Ellen Wilson said...

Hey Karen,
I don't think you come across as shy. But then again, no one sees our inner workings.

Everyone is busy and it takes time to build relationships. It is a balance between spreading ourselves to thin (and having nothing of substance in our relationships), or keeping to ourselves (and gaining nothing from relationships!). In a few months you will notice the difference your intitiatives have made, and you will then no where to go from there.

Anonymous said...

That's funny, Karen, as, like Ellen, I don't think of you as a shy person at all! I'm so grateful that we've made a cyber connection, and feel very pleased to call you my friend :-)

Words For Hire said...

@ Jeremy, no, no thank you!

@ Amy and Ellen, I'm actually pretty extroverted as long as the focus is not on me! Invites, self promotion are those things I'm still not entirely comfortable doing. I was really shy as a kid and I guess I've learned to overcome it in most areas, but it's always lurking beneath the surface. Thank you for both the encouragement and insight. I met you both virtually and am awfully glad I did!


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