The explosion of Social media in our culture has accelerated the number of conversations to an unprecedented level. Many would agree that there is so much conversation going on that it is impossible to keep up. The benefits of participating in these conversations should no longer be in doubt, except by those few that refuse to adapt to change.
A productive conversation has two required components: speaking and listening. Much of the conversation in the early stage of social media is speaking. If you were/are one of the early users of Twitter, you will most likely agree. Lot’s of ‘speaking’ going on – words being pushed out into the Twittersphere. As we learn how to use this medium more effectively, it has become apparent that the more strategic use of these tools is as a listener. Please note that I am an advocate of doing both, as often as time allows.
The term “lurking” is used to describe the online activity in which someone hangs out in the background, never speaking and never visible. You will gain very little by using social media tools this way. If you have read earlier posts of mine you know I believe the most important activity in social media is listening. However, if you are only listening, you are being cheated of the opportunity to expand your knowledge, connections and your business.
There are numerous reasons to “leave footprints” as you travel the web:
1) You are building name recognition with the people that you respect enough to read their information or follow in social media.
2) You are building your expertise on the subject matter that you are commenting on. Obviously this assumes that you have left a well thought out comment on the topic of the post, Tweet, video or photo.
3) You will gain additional connections or followers that are noticing your footprints.
4) You are developing and exercising your online “voice”, gaining experience in putting your thoughts and ideas into words.
I recommend “leaving a footprint” as frequently as you can. Leaving a footprint simply means to let others know you stopped by. A reply to a tweet, a comment on a Facebook wall and/or a comment on a blog post. As a blogger I can tell you that those readers that leave a comment after their visit are much appreciated and valued. If you want to achieve an active, productive social media experience, leave a footprint of your travels. You will stand out in the crowd, others will begin to recognize your involvement, follow you and your thoughts and expand your network of connections. If you want to stand out, to gain the attention of those that you follow, and potentially of those that you seek a conversation with, leave your footprint. Try it, you will surprised with the results.
What do you do to leave your footprints? Will you share an interesting story about what has happened to you after someone followed your footprints? Have you had success by doing this already? Might I suggest that you start now by leaving your footprint on this article in the comment area below.