Dipping into the Social Media pool.

I wrote my first blog just over a year ago.  The reason: to motivate me to write more and to share my thoughts with whoever would listen. I had just hopped onto the FaceBook and Twitter bandwagon and was picking up any information that I could about this new media 2.0.

Blogger made setting up a blog easy. This was great because I have absolutely no experience with setting up web pages - HTML might as well be hieroglyphics.  I wanted this site to be a personal magazine filled with articles I found interesting.  Among the assorted special interest essays, I intended to write "letters from the editor" personal postings to get things off my chest or to just have a whine outlet.

Surprisingly, I stuck to it and now I have another blog; newraycom that deals almost entirely with my new  social media and marketing.

I've become very passionate about social media in spite of having little marketing and no technical experience (I've never played a game of Dungeons & Dragons).

Yes, I've heard all the tedious comments about how Twitter was for people who wanted to broadcast their doughnut choices and Facebook users were friending everybody  to make up for being a such loser in High School.  To be honest, I was sleptical as well.  Contrary to how I may appear at a cocktail party, I am quite a private person.  I desserted Facebook a number of times before it and I became friends.

There's always a danger of backlash when anything gets too popular.  I remember people hating the Beatles, and look at poor Britney . And don't get me started about Disco.  There is such a buzz around social media that people, especially those who have no clue what it is, are digging  their heels in the sand resisting the mob mania.  That's a shame.

What inspires me most about social media is my feeling that it will have a profound impact on how we communicate with each other.   Reaching out to others by engaging with them in conversations and sharing with them news, ideas and support will filter down into our day to day relationships with family, friends and workers.

Social Media is a great democratizer, we all have the power to exchange tweets, blogs and news-feeds with whomever we want. There is only one rule; we must engage.  We must share, exchange and offer something interesting.  Hey, just like in the real world.

So now that I am immersing myself in this world, ( I'm even participating in my first social media seminar - The Social Media Success Summit 2010 - #smss10).   I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed though at the density of information coming at me.  I listen to podcasts while commuting to work, I dip regularly into the Twitter stream for whatever floats by, and I have subscribed to numerous RSS feeds on my Reader.  I haven't thrown myself into something so intensely since my early performing days when I spent hours at the library researching everything there was written or recorded about musical theatre. (Ask me any question about Sondheim or Fosse!)

 One concern I have is that from what I have been reading and hearing, social media seems to be all about marketing, SEO's & ROI's.  That could be because I have been listening to Marketing professionals who seem to be at the vanguard of this phenomenon. 

I find marketing very interesting. I'm a big fan of The Age of Persuasion and Six Pixels of Separation, but I'm a bit worried that I haven't come across much information relating to social media and the community.  How is it being used in charitable organizations; in the arts?  As far as politics is concerned, we saw how it was used in Obama's campaign, and the news worthiness of Twitter has been demonstrated over and over again.

It's place in everyday life, in our society, in our schools and workplaces is what I would like to learn more of as I embark on my Social Media career.  While I will be working with companies on building their Social Media strategies and explaining as persuasively as I can that organizations should be all over  social media, I also hope to assure people that once the social media hype deflates, we will be left with channels of communication that will make us a global village of neighbours chatting over our broadband  fences.