social media’s so bright, i gotta wear shades!

SO many wonderful things have started to materialize since the New Years Bell tolled and the start of 2009. I switched gears in my professional role from Donor Relations Supervisor, managing my International children’s medical charities Donor Relation Call Center and grassroots fund raising to a role doing a very similar function only using social media.

I met some amazing mentors and contacts very early on by attending the We Are Media workshop from NTEN in Feb. and then had some great conversations and learning experiences from SxSW Interactive in March.

The more I learn, the more I feel like it’s o.k. to listen to my instincts. While I may not know the jargon and the latest trends in web marketing, what I have always had a knack for is relationship building. Talking to people, anticipating their needs, predicting trends and acting on my instincts.

These traits have served me well in various fields including the restaurant business, retail, marketing and radio. They also helped way back when I donned a purple with and face glitter in my role as a professional clown! (thank god that was pre-social media and the pics are non-existent).

I am reflecting on all of this this because I recently had some really amazing conversations with folks who are outright terrified of social media. People who I have always respected and admired for their incredible intellect, innovation and professional prowess are now asking me for my thoughts and ideas related to social media. And, while I’m not an “expert” like my colleagues and mentors, and I don’t speak fluent tech ease, I realize I do have some valuable perspective and information to help them get their toes wet in social media.

I also realize that there are no experts. Everyone is learning, we’re all in this together which certainly echoes the very notion of “social” media. You can’t get a degree in it because surely by the time the commencement speech is over the technology has changed. But the philosophy remains the same. And the philosophy of Social Media is what seems to have corporate America shaking in their loafers.

While I have a ways to go to maximize my understanding of the total picture if the world wide web, I am uniquely qualified to dive into the pool of Social Media philosophy and strategy. I started as a user and evangelist starting with Friendster in 2002 and then Myspace, DeviantArt, Etsy etc etc. I am now an official Facebook and Twitter addict and am anxiously looking for the next great way to communicate.

And the communication is the key-social media has created an incredible community to learn, grow, explore, elevate and inspire. The playing fields are becoming more level and the walls are being broken down in more ways than you can even imagine.

In the coming weeks I will have some personal benchmarks that will prove to even more solidly tie me to this insane online world and I can’t wait to see where it all takes me. The lessons are pouring in from my mentors are invaluable as are the conversations, tweets, blogs and webinars. I’m grabbing some sunglasses (with non-reflective lenses to reduce the screens effects on my eyes) because this social media future is so freaking bright…bring it on!

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