Yesterday I wrote about “social media” as we know it going away. Thanks to everyone who read the post and shared it, I’m glad you liked it. It’s shown me that this is an important topic and one that needs to be talked about even more. Oh, and I’m sorry about the comments being messed up, they are fixed now if you want to go in and add your thoughts.

Ok, so I’ve mused that “social media” is going to eventually become just like any other media. For marketers and business people, it will become just another tool in their arsenal to help them spread messages and sell (that is, if they don’t screw it up too badly).

That’s all fine and well, but what does that mean to the average person? If “social media” is going away, what happens next? How can you stay relevant in a world where everyone knows the same secret?

Tell your story.

Everything, and I mean everything, is a story. This blog is a place to share the stories that swirl around in my head. When I tell people about Jester Creative, or MyMusic, I’m telling them a story about what it’s like to work on my passions. When I post photos of my cats, I am telling a story about my love of animals.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find the stories in your life too. Small, common, everyday things are a story. Right now, I’m sitting on the patio next to the pool, drinking a coffee, writing and listening to the birds. The story is the sound of the morning from my house, which is not like the story of the sound of the morning at yours. It’s my experience and my perception of that experience that makes the story.

At first you’ll think that nobody wants to hear your stories. I did too. Tell them anyway, and you will be shocked at who wants to, and will continue to listen.

And don’t push people to listen. Shouting at people and using broadcast tactics to get A-lister attention is not the route to go (in the big scheme of things, A-lister attention is fleeting at best). Just tell your stories. At first it will seem like nobody is listening (I think my Mom was the only one who read my blog for about the first two years – thanks Mom!). But persist, and eventually you’ll connect with someone. Be patient and consistent and tell the stories YOU want to tell. It will happen in time.

Be yourself.

I’m so sick and tired of the “I want to keep my personal life personal and my business life business so I am going to work extra hard in the online world to keep them absolutely separate at all costs” thing.

Look, if you’re going to be online, interacting, participating, whatever, then you need to lose that personal/business thing. Now.

I don’t mean you shouldn’t have boundaries. If you don’t want to post photos of your kids, don’t. Simple. My boundaries are that I never talk about politics or religion online. There are certain aspects of my private life I keep private. And if I’m going somewhere by myself I never broadcast where I am. I get to choose (and so do you), but what you see online is the real me, not some business-fied, stuffy, boring version of me.

I am pretty open about everything else in my life. I share the inane details of my day, because they are great conversation starters. I am absolutely myself online, and if you’ve ever met me in person you know that I am the same person here as I am “in real life”. I don’t separate business and personal because to me, it’s all personal. Why the heck would anyone want a different me online than off? It makes no sense. So get over it. If you want to be online, it’s GOT to be personal. It’s GOT to be the real you. Period.

Give a crap.

You know who the winners are going to be when all this “social media” stuff goes away? Not the “social media” consultants that are focused on the tools, that’s for sure. It will be the people that give a crap about other people.

Yes, the web is a noisy place. It’s not going to get any quieter either. If you’re going to be invested online then you need to keep paying attention to what other people are doing. And I don’t mean just in business. You need to read your friends’ and colleagues’ and acquaintances’ tweets and blogs and watch their videos. You need to be aware of what is going on in their lives, and you need to CARE. Who cares if you don’t know someone that well? If they post about their successes, congratulate them. If they are having a rough time, send them a supportive message. And, if you get the chance to see an online friend in person, even if you’re too busy to stop, take 20 seconds and hug them and say hi. Believe me, it means the whole world.

Give a genuine flying crap about other people, and you will succeed. At that point, the tools don’t matter one bit anymore. People will always matter more than Twitter.

Ultimately, if you’re not sharing your story, being yourself and caring intensely about others, you’re just pointing and clicking. And in a post-social media world, that will get you nowhere fast.

So, why don’t you start by telling me your story? I want to hear it.

[photo by Mikelo]


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