Baby steps…

Remember that movie “What about Bob?” Bill Murray was that psychologically dependent “quirky” guy who read his shrink’s book and could not stop repeating it? “Baby steps.. baby steps…”

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read Chris Brogan‘s blog today. A few days late though, and here goes nothing…

His questions were:

What were your first steps into social media?

Who were your early people you admired and followed?

How did you get started?

If you were going to give advice to someone starting out, what would you tell them?

What will you do in the next few months with social media?

My first steps into social media were way back when AOL chat rooms started popping up. I also used ICQ back then too. I know all of 2 people that still use ICQ nowadays. Since social media can be used in a general sense, my next encounters were actually in MMORPGs. Over the years it became more and more a part of my life, and slowly but surely the list grew. I belong to over 25 social networks currently.. and I’m sure that I’m forgetting some.

Where I don’t remember all of the people I followed that early on, I did keep up with what was going on in tech at the time and pay attention to the trends. When I came to Twitter however though, @Rudy @Kurafire, @Clintus @Nick @Zoetica, @galadarling and @michaelowens come to mind first. Each person had some sort of personality about them that interested me. I enjoyed their sense of style-weather it was wordsmithing or the shallow “look” and comfort in their own skin. *Note- if you were not mentioned in the list above please do not take it personally. I value all of the people I’ve met with an equal level. Even the negative impacts, have had their merits in the learning experience.

A few of the first people I followed early on I would even go so far to say that I call not just colleagues but friends. I have learned a lot from them just being them. I have learned a lot from discussions with them. And really that’s the point of social media at the heart of it in my opinion.

If you are just getting your feet wet to social media, there are a few things I’d reccomend.

  1. Ease into it slowly. Don’t get involved in too many networks right away. It will be overwhelming and likely make you burn out and fizzle. If you are serious, moderate your activities and branch more as it becomes comfortable. Not everyone can juggle 50 networks and still maximize on all their perks. Not right away at least.
  2. Go to events and participate in the conversations. No one is going to know you even exist if you don’t put yourself out there. You’re cheating yourself of a much larger network of people if you don’t.
  3. Don’t spam just links as your contribution to the network services. Whenever I see someone posting nothing but links, I stop paying attention to them and move on. Promoting your idea and service is not looked down upon necessarily. But no one wants it forced down their throat.
  4. Know where you want to market yourself.. or work on finding it. This one takes some work and even longtime members of social media haven’t discovered themselves. Look for patterns and angles that you find appealing and work around that. I believe that most everyone is or can be marketable with the right direction.
  5. And most importantly, don’t just hear.. listen! There’s a lot that you can learn from your peers. You may be surprised. Take advice, don’t take advice.. but listen! A lot of people have great things to say. Aspire to inspire. I’m an aspiring muse as well as a protege. The secret is trying to learn to wear both hats.

In the next few months in social media, in a complete generic answer, I want to try and get more involved. Here’s a few ways how:

I want to go to more of the events. Months ago I was in a position to go to more of them. There weren’t as many then, and getting into the area wasn’t something I put enough effort into doing. I now live closer to the area where events are happening and have missed too many of them. I want to make a point to attend some and get out there with the crowd IRL even. I want to formerly meet and shake hands with some of my mentors and peers and learn even more.

I want to read more blogs and give them the comments they deserve.

I want to participate in more discussions.

I want to brainstorm and find other ways to branch out with a social technology.

I want to write about other’s stories and not just my own.

(I want to find some more answers for this question =)

So in closing I suppose, a quote from the bum in “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” is in order

What’s your dream?

Life is a journey.. and that’s the where real story lies. The past is a part of the present. Let’s look forward and grow.

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