The social media leadership experiment, updated…

A Look Backward...and Forward...

If you are reading this at any time after the Obama presidency, this was originally written a long time ago...but I've updated it at the bottom, so read on...

Pardon the “about me”-ness of this post in advance, but it’s time for an update…

So…as close as I can figure, I’ve been on my social media experiment exactly 14 weeks. That is, 14 weeks ago tomorrow (6/27/09) I gave in to my friend Doug Lawrence and asked him to help me join facebook.

It’s been an interesting ride. About 20 minutes ago I logged my 1000th friend (thanks, Emily Bender…I remember you when you were just a twinkle in your father’s eye…). That just seems amazing to me. Do I “know” all these people? Well…no. But, you know, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, six degrees of separation and all that, and now I seem to know a good chunk of the working Christian musician population of the Nashville area, even though I’ve only been there a couple of times (once to pick up the entire inventory of my music publishing company because of a distribution arrangement that was, in a word, bad…but that’s a completely ‘nother story).

As I’ve said before, I don’t consider myself a social person. I’m not the gregarious type. In fact that’s me over there at your party…in the corner…watching curiously…and enjoying myself. But this social media thing is completely different. It has allowed me to be more social on my own terms, and, in a way, be more social in face to face situations.

Here’s why I think it works. It is a safe way to be introduced to people that you don’t presently know (or, at least, know well). In most cases people don’t want to be (and aren’t) anti-social on facebook (now Twitter? that’s different story too…the vibe there is more…friendly…and more often…), and so fb people aare polite about accepting people that have at least some connection, and who ask politely (at least that’s my experience).

And then you find out who is a constant communicator, and who only visits once every few weeks. And, you can interact with people in a way that deepens the connection, even if it is, after all, two dimensional. And then <…and then…and then… …along came Jones…ooops sorry…tangental 50s tune flashback> when you go to a conference and you meet…well…there’s something to talk about.

So…it has worked for me.

Disclaimer: your results may vary.

Now that I’m at 1000, I’ve decided to “back off” in terms of creating my network, and see what happens. I expect the growth rate will slow down, but I’m curious to find out. There is something to the critical mass rule, though, because in the last week or so, I’ve been approached by more people who want to be my friend than I had been over the previous 12+ weeks. We’ll see.

UPDATE

As I write this, it has been about 2 years since I gave up facebook for lent in 2016. Long before the "fake news" stuff surfaced, I suspected as much, and got tired of the uncompromisingly divisive rhetoric. Last time I looked I still had over 3000 friends there though...

Ah but twitter now...

At the time I originally wrote the above, I hadn't even started with twitter. I now spend an hour or two a day on it (never on Sundays, though...), and I'm considered something of an influencer. Maybe that has to do with my 17.5k organically grown follower base... I find twitter to be my online newspaper...and it lets me let people know about the interesting things I have found by sharing them on my timeline. If you'd like, you can follow me there: https://twitter.com/vernsanders.

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