When it comes to social media, social sharing, and personal branding, I am no longer an enthusiast.
However, I am a strategist, if only for my secret and personal benefits.
Yes, I have found social media success and have lived to write about it.
You would not know it by my numbers of Twitter followers or retweets. [Not bad, and growing.]
You would not know it by my numbers of blog social shares and comments. [Yes bad, and downright pathetic, though I am making progress with blog syndication on Business 2 Community. Click my name below to see more of my posts.]
And, you absolutely would not know it by my other metrics on LinkedIn, Google+, or Pinterest. [Oh so fun, but oh so exhausting.]
But, I have used social media to great success, and now I shall share the secret to my secret social media success:
Personal Learning Networks.
Since I have now spilled the beans, let the cat out of the bag, and loosened lips that may sink ships, I may as well say it again more loudly:
PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORKS.
What is a personal learning network?
A personal learning network (PLN) is a managed group of others that are chosen for potential interaction and as a beneficial resource for continuous learning about a preferred topic/subject.
Forget about advanced degrees, MOOCs, and Google Glass Vulcan knowledge transfers.
Forget about followers/connections, retweets, repins, reblogs, mentions, comments, likes, plus ones, up ones, click-throughs, see-throughs, or views.
While all of the above have a place in education, social media marketing, and/or personal branding, the true benefits of social media that are often overlooked, sometimes misunderstood, and rarely considered as a measure of success are:
1. What have you learned to better your life and career?
2. How have you improved your habit and skill of developing appropriate career focused personal learning networks?
3. What are your continuing personal growth opportunities for life-long learning?
Yes, I truly believe these are the greatest benefits to using social media for personal branding, job search, skills development, and career advancement.
Everyone wants to learn, do better in their job, and advance in their career, right?
“When in the history of education and self-learning has so much hand-picked, career beneficial, and cerebral enlightening content been available at the touch of a smartphone or computer mouse?”
Every night and often during the day at idle times once filled with boredom, I pull out my iPhone or iPad mini and read about the topics of personal and career interest. And, I read. And, I read. And, I read.
I may only read a little at a time. But, I read. And, I rarely get bored, anymore [unless my iPhone needs charging].
I once read books, newspapers, and journals.
I now read blog posts, online magazines, and e-books.
I don’t just accidentally find the latter through random Google searches and stumble-upons. Instead, I have built my PLN, and it is good.
At last count, my Feedly (formerly Google Reader) folder on Social Media Marketing contained 219 blog RSS feeds. My folder on Personal Branding and Self Marketing has 72 blog RSS feeds. My Twitter Lists on these two career influential topics contained 177 and 64 members respectively. On LinkedIn I follow 12 related news topics, 26 influencers, and 25 groups. On Google+ I am in 25 related communities.
And, you don’t even need to ask about the numerous topics/stories in my Zite app and folders in my Flipboard app. [I will share those secrets on a need to know basis in a future blog post.]
Undoubtedly, I have a lot to learn and a lot of others to learn from.
The nicety of all this is that from all of the personal learning networks mentioned above, true experts and not algorithms teach me about these favorite topics for personal enlightenment and career benefit.
My secret social media mantra and the secret of my secret social media success:
“Learn first. Social share second.”
Not Always Easy.
Sure, I am disappointed when I find and share a great Tweet and it is not clicked or retweeted.
Yes, I get discouraged when a brilliant and insightful original blog posting is not shared or commented on.
And true, I sometimes have anxiety when my Klout score temporarily dips below my age bracket.
Nonetheless, don’t you worry about me. It is the secret to my secret social media success that keeps me going.
Boom! I read something for me.
Boom! I share it for others.
It takes a minimal extra effort on my part, and may even burn a few calories.
So today I tip my hat, salute to my right eyebrow, give a double thumbs up, clap my hands, give a high five, and shout out a sincere thank you to all those social media and personal branding enthusiasts, ninjas, warriors, gurus, experts, mavens, evangelists, and strategists that offer up daily contributions to my always-on, real-world, real-time personal learning networks on the world wide web of social media.
I have never before learned so much, so easily, so quickly.
And, so goes the secret to my secret social media success.
Which social media best provides you a personal learning network for your job search and career development? Please comment.
Image credit: by Denny McCorkle.
This article originally appeared on Digital Self Marketing Advantage and has been republished with permission.