Back when I joined EMC, which in all was an amazing experience, the first thing that Chad Sakac (@Sakacc) said to our team was “If you don’t have a twitter account or a blog, do that.” Sage words indeed. Through the use of social media and communities, I’ve made some of the best friends and contacts of my life. The many times I’ve been successful in reaching out to my peers across the world for solutions, jokes, and IRL meetings is countless. I owe Chad for this advice.
A couple years back, I was fortunate and honored to be invited to be interviewed on a “Geek Whisperer’s Podcast.” For that, I once again thank Amy Lewis (@Commsninja), John Troyer (@JTroyer), and Matt Brender (@MJBrender). I had the ability to explore a bit about how I got started in social media, and how I approach it. For example, I choose not to talk about politics, sex, or even swear on these platforms. This was an election I made. I judge nobody who chooses to engage in these conversations, but for me it just didn’t seem right. My interests (Music, Sports, technology, etc.) are the things I tweet about, and sometimes blog about.
So, what has social media done for me? Since leaving the customer side, with literally no social media presence, my circle of friends has grown exponentially. I know that I can grab a meal in practically any town in the US, and many places in Europe. I can receive technical assistance practically at a moment’s notice. I’m able to reach out to people I haven’t seen in years, and delve into conversations that teach me consistently and allow me to voice opinions thave may or may not be controversial. And this is is just the beginning.
When people who follow my posts either via blog or twitter, I’m granted a level of understanding and credibility off-the-bat not just due to time on the job, but because of how they’ve already received valuable information from me via my online stature.
By no means am I the most prolific blogger, nor am I always entirely on-target with my technical acumen. However, I’ve proven over time that when I don’t know something, I will work to get the answer. And, through my connections, I will know where to go. Integrity has always been a watchword for me.
There’s only one piece of advice I can offer, though, and that’s to dive in. We all have something to say, to be honest. The difficulty at the outset is to develop your voice. When I began blogging, I had quite a bit of grammatical skill, as well as a solid command of the language, but what I didn’t have was an innate skill in communicating my voice. I used (and often still do) words that were self-conscious and pretentious (You see???). I had heard of the Kiss principle before (Keep it simple, stupid) but really didn’t utilize it well. I felt that in order to add some level of solidity to my writing, I needed to impress with my language. The truth is that I really needed to communicate as simply as possible. The only way to truly get a voice is to practice. Don’t be afraid to publish what’s not perfect. Just try.
I’d say the same thing about Twitter. Try to build a voice and a perspective. It can be a little daunting because your potential stretch can be huge. But honesty and integrity are key. If you’ve some technical voice, personal tastes, and perspective don’t be afraid to use these. Follow key people who are integral in the communities in which you exist, and spread that out a bit. Engage. Over time, you’ll improve your following and develop a persona with which you feel comfortable.
In terms of career benefits to Social Media, I’d have to say that the single biggest benefit has been the relationships I’ve built. To have this reach, have made and paid attention to these contacts, kept track of their career moves, and tracked the progress of these people with whom I am honored to be associated, I have gained insight and inroads to many different arenas of tech. I also know where to go when I need some advice.
In the times I’ve searched for work, the twitter profile, LinkedIn connections and blog have helped to open doors, loaned credibility, and helped me to land the amazing jobs I’ve had. Many people skip the functionality of LinkedIn. I believe that the usefulness of the platform to be hugely beneficial.
Now, recently, and as I’ve joined the channel side, rather than the vendor side, I’ve been honored to join the Tech Field Day crew. (@TechFieldDay) What a huge compliment to me and the efforts I’ve put in to attempt to gain industry knowledge out side the realm of the products I represented and compliment that with the technical acumen to be able to add some level of hands-on knowledge on top of the breadth of products I sell. Being a member of this crew, alongside some real luminaries as well as being part of the amazing vExpert (@vExpert) and EMC Elect (@EMCElect) group have all been due to the efforts I’ve made in blogging, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
It’s certainly true that I’ve been blessed with a number of huge compliments. This is not due to outstanding skill, but that little bit of extra effort to mete out the branding I have with the tools provided.