It’s Not Who You Know… It’s What You Say

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Blake Ewings’ closing keynote at last weeks’ Social Media Tulsa conference. One of the key takeaways for me was this statement:

It doesn’t mean only “tweet positive” but it does mean when sending thoughts, links, info etc. out into the world, we should all be mindful of the larger effect. It’s easy to say, “If you wouldn’t want your Mom to know, don’t post it,” but really, most of us feel a little more insulated in our online worlds than that. We use the public conversation to share our private frustrations. Sometimes, before we’ve taken the time to try to solve them privately. I have been guilty of this…

I’m still processing how and what I want to change about how I participate in the public conversation. What kind of social responsibility comes with a larger-than-average audience online? Mine isn’t anything like the superstars of the Interwebs, but it’s exponentially larger than the “average Jane” on Twitter, Facebook, etc. What obligations does that, or should that, entail as far as sharing?

And… based on some feedback I’ve already gotten on this post… does being more human actually give you more of a voice? Do people just care more if they “know you?” My instincts and experience tell me yes.

Like I said, still processing… and interested to hear your thoughts!


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6 Responses to “It’s Not Who You Know… It’s What You Say”

  1. Kellyology April 4, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I personally try to be useful to my audience. I post things that I find interesting, or thought provoking, or funny (because we all need to laugh). Though I have to say, there have been times, where I haven’t been completely responsible with my posts. However, I find that is what makes a person interesting on Twitter…their humanity. Sometimes showing one’s underbelly is exactly what it takes to get a great conversation going, and the people with larger, active (active being more important than the size) audiences know how to get conversations going.

  2. Mandy Vavrinak April 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Kelly, yes… sometimes a bit of underbelly can be a good thing. I don’t think my audience wants to know all the gory details, but maybe they do want to know ME beyond just the business writings. Maybe what I say about the larger issues will have more resonance and relevance if I let a bit of human show through?

    Thanks for commenting 🙂

  3. Bobby Rettew April 8, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Mandy…I have been thinking a lot about this lately, you put language to these thoughts. There are so many potential relationships in this interweb of social outlets. I have also noticed that many of us spend more time online forging those relationships, yet many of us cannot since we have to focus on other parts of our business. These outlets remind me so much of the news world, what is fresh today is forgotten tomorrow. So, we may have developed online relationships with friends and colleagues online, they can be fresh today but forgotten tomorrow. It is the nature of the paradigm. I have tried to think beyond relevance and focus on engaging with like minded people. People that we can share rich information and rich experiences. These are the relationships that can forge long term communities. Thanks for making me think more and seeing this through your eyes!


    • Mandy Vavrinak April 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      I have seen the wax and wane of online connections, too. I think you’re wise to focus on like-minded people… the ones who, like old friends, it will seem like no real time has passed when you DO talk next because your connection is more than superficial.

  4. Carlos Moreno April 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    what i took away from his talk is that the media is negative: we all know that “if it bleeds, it leads”. it’s gotten to the point where i don’t even want to read the paper, listen to the radio, or watch TV anymore because all that’s there is negative. even locally: all you hear and see in local media is the terrible things going on.

    …journalists and print/radio/tv execs & producers would all tell us that they would *LIKE* to tell positive stories and share the good stuff that’s going on in our community, but “people don’t want it”.

    we can break that cycle. we can talk about what we love. we talk about the good things going on in our community. we can talk about solutions, and what we’re doing to make a difference, rather than just problems. we can have meaningful discussions that move us forward, rather than just being an echo-chamber for soundbytes. we can find common-ground rather than just amplifying our differences.

    it’s sounds like i just want to sit around a campfire and sing “kum ba yah”, but seriously: if we want things to change, we need to start with being mindful of what we talk about and how we say it. because people are listening.

    • Mandy Vavrinak April 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      The longest journey still starts with a single step 😉

      That is where I’m headed, for sure. Not that I think we can stick our heads in the sand and ignore the news, even if its negative, because we won’t know what needs changing if we don’t pay attention. But, yes.. positive stories can be harder to turn into “real” stories for the media, and that is where providing positive feedback when they do one, suggesting good angles (your viewers/readers will care about this BECAUSE… ) when you pitch one, and just keeping our eyes, ears and minds open to the good stories out there comes in. As a PR person, this is one thing I’m actively working on.

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