The term “social media” has been a bit of a problem for my business. I help people devise and implement effective plans for how to participate in this new world of “social media”. However, the people who most need my help and who I most want to work with, are not generally familiar with the term.


So telling them I am a “Social Media Expert” is about as effective as telling them that I know Szépasszonyvölgy very well… there simply aren’t a lot of people that understand what that means.

So what is “social media”, and why should you care?

The term “social media” is actually very appropriate and it makes sense when you break it down. My dictionary says the following:

  • social: “…relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure.”
  • media: “…the means of mass communication, regarded collectively.”

Social media simply defines a set of tools where people can have conversations. Whether it is a blog, facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or whatever, the tool enables people to have a conversation in a public forum. And at the core, that is all that social media is.

I read a comment the other day that said, “…if you write only about you and your company, the only people who read it will be you and your company.”

I’m sure most people have had conversations where one person just talked about themselves all the time. How long did you last before you decided you needed to go get a drink, visit the bathroom, or saw someone else you had to say Hi to?

Like a good conversationalist at a party, you should use your presence on social media to start conversations, elicit comment, provide tangible value to the people reading your content. If someone finds your content (writing, images, musings, reviews, etc) useful, they will hold you in higher esteem. They will appreciate your helpful insight or perspective.

And in the end, aren’t the most interesting conversations the ones in which you learn something new?

Social media is simply you putting yourself out there, honestly and openly, and trying to be helpful. Keep that in mind, and you will start building your social media capital.