Life’s always easier when we work with our individual psychology rather than against it – and lots of people I talk to these days have to use social media as part of their jobs, whether they like it or not.

Social chit-chat works to a formula on and offline:

1. Person A makes a statement and/or asks a question.
2. Person B responds, identifying common ground and probing deeper, possibly…
3. Unless they’re on a social network that enables it ( Quora, Branch, Google+, Diigo are best for fuller conversation) – the chat is likely to stay fairly superficial.

Not that hard eh? But for those of us who are subject geeks rather than much more social geeks, the fluffy small talk can seem massively irrelevant.

So here’s a survival guide for the tentative user:

– Confine yourself at most to the three subject areas that you love most – or the work one that may be obligatory and two that you love…
– Learn headline writing. Copyblogger and Boost Blog Traffic rule here.
– Lots of people big themselves up pronouncing on matters like they are their subject’s Moses. Small yourself down instead – go into obscure but interesting-to-the-dedicated areas, and detail. Small is very beautiful online and you need never be alone…
– Share that which you love. Really. Don’t try and be goody-goody or they who know best. Follow fascinating people and you will want to respond.
– Give yourself a minimum number of posts/tweets a week and remember that around coffee/lunch/tea/early eve are peak browsing times, depending on your time zone.
– Much social media is joyously silly but it can also be amazingly mind-expanding. Use twitter lists to absorb the brainiacs.
– Give it a go – unless you’ve past form with other people, the art of social media is less about repelling attention, than somehow being smart enough to get it…

By szcz

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