*For embedded links, see SlideShare chart.
Even laggards are now admitting that social media is here to stay, but how people engage social media varies greatly. I notice that they seem to fall into one of four categories once they decide to link, tweet, post, blog or otherwise chat online.
With social media, a combination of IT skills and social skills is most beneficial; therefore, it stands to reason that those people lacking both would be the last to come on board and people who have talent in each area would be the early adopters. The key, though, is not to take it to an extreme in whichever area you happen to belong. The people who do are often the ones portrayed as representative of social media and its uses, unfortunately.
Social media users latest to the game are those most reticent about using these tools. They felt it was a passing fad and a waste of time – essentially a video game that didn’t belong in the workplace, so why bother learning such a thing?
They have begrudgingly added this to their already overwhelming to-do list, and don’t care to admit that mastering email isn’t something they’ve quite gotten the hang of yet.
Although more adept with the technical side of things, Wall Monitors aren’t really social creatures and find the video game analogy of social media to be enticing. They see the entire experience more as a need to outscore everyone else, where acquiring connections is a means to an end. “Winning” to them is more about getting the highest number, title or prize, rather than meeting people.
While Twitter often gets blamed for creating these creatures, they existed long before social media did. They used the telephone, mail and face to face communication in bygone years – whatever was available – to tell anyone who would listen about anything and everything that was happening in their lives, ad nauseum.
Like “reality” television, if people didn’t give them an audience, they would learn sooner not to publicly broadcast their minutiae to the world.
Those most adept at technology and socializing have been using social media the longest, but often find it difficult to step away from their monitors, handhelds, laptops – even for a short while. As our society becomes more connected, we often find it impossible to become disconnected. Pew Research shows that, overall, two-thirds of adults sleep with their cell phones.
As a society, even the most technologically engaged are beginning to address what protocols should be followed regarding acceptable behavior with regard to social media invading – and superceding – the world of face to face interaction.
So which category is best? As usual, all things in moderation. It’s certainly good to be skilled in a trade – especially one that’s in demand – but not if it’s taken to such an extreme that it controls you instead of the other way around.
Keep the base of the pyramid strong