Social Media and Tribes #9: The fear factor

by Deepika Bajaj on August 25, 2010

Recently, I was in a conference in Las Vegas, speaking about the ” Social Media – Taboos & Innovative Uses”. The focus was to help professional women of different ethnic backgrounds understand how technology, specifically social media, help or hinder their personal and professional development. Though they all understood that these days you cannot afford to ignore  social media as one of the key ways in which companies and individuals communicate, there was this FEAR of it as well.

These were professional women who had gone through many technological innovations in the past but the idea of being transparent and authentic over social media didn’t appeal to them. They were worried about identity theft, making a wrong impression on a potential employer and above all were overwhelmed by the friend requests on Facebook (from people they don’t know). They were trying to get “tips” and “techniques” on which social network to use e.g LinkedIn versus Facebook OR how to do a check on someone from a different country OR how to save their children. Some of them were working mothers who were of the opinion that all that Twitter and Facebook were doing was to hurt their children since now they didn’t have control over who their friends were on Facebook. Some of them were scared that some nasty pictures of their kids might float on the internet and hurt their reputation.

I think all these are valid concerns.

Here is the BIG BUT.

Avoid Stupidity

I am putting this bluntly. This is nothing different from the way of life. Don’t do anything that you don’t want published or don’t want hurting you. This way you will not have to worry about what pictures your friends are tagging you in OR have friends you can trust for not hurting you. The idea of social media is not to use it for hurting people. That is not the intention. This is a tool like every other tool – if you misuse it, it will be destructive. Destruction is possible even if you speed in a car, over load your washing machine and/or overheat your food. Don’t do anything stupid and tools are usually effective in increasing your productivity. Similarly, social media is a tool to make it convenient for you to broadcast your POSITIVE message to your tribe. Read my previous post on this: Changing the World is Addictive.

Fear of Unknown

Fear and Suspicion are based on a lack of knowledge.There is nothing more paralyzing than fear.  Learning these tools is important. Speculating this as an observer will only lead to fear, uncertainty and distress. Social media is here to stay. We can learn it and leverage this to make it a powerful tool to create networks that connect professionals to opportunities in their career and personal branding. To let go of fear, in this post I share how it has helped women: The New internet Junkie

Build Relationships

Don’t worry about all the negatives, focus on being valuable. Share things that you believe might help others in their pursuits, connect with companies where you think you can add value, build a brand as someone who has something valuable to offer. Don’t waste people’s time, share with them your expertise, give good help, listen to people. To emphasize on building relationships, here is a post : Relationships matter more than ever before.

Last but not the least, don’t forget to have fun!

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