My Social Networking Manifesto: Why I won't change.

For me, social networking is part of my job. Its a portion of how I brand our business. Its a way to cultivate relationships with partners, clients and influencers. Its how I keep up to date on what other vendors are doing.

It’s also been instrumental in my conversion of my blog from ERE to this fall. It has been through RT’s on twitter and on facebook – that I have met some really smart, interesting people.

On the flip side, if you follow my tweets – you know that it is about more than that to me as well. On a personal level – it has blurred that line between totally professional relationships, pseudo-friendships and in some cases, true friendships and relationships that will last a very long time.

I’ve gotten some advice from someone that I respect to change how I am online. That my ‘image’ isn’t what I want it to be and supplied some advice on perceptions of me. I thought a lot about it. A lot. It was the inspiration behind my 2010: Twitter post. It has caused me a internal debate and discussion. It has honestly caused a little bit of writer’s block.

It caused doubt.

I don’t live my life with doubt. I can’t. I don’t have the time, energy or emotional attachment to do so. Doubt to me is no different than failure.

So, Here is why I like social networking and why I’m not changing too much.

1. In person, I am kinda shy. For those of you that only know “online me” this is typically a bit of a shocker. In fact, I do a pretty good job hiding it (usually via a cosmo or xanax) but know that I am actually really uncomfortable talking to you when we meet. You make me nervous and i’m a bit intimidated. As someone who is super uncomfortable in a 1-1 setting or in a small group of people, it has been a really interesting way to build relationships without the anxiety and fear that would normally stop us from meeting.

2. It allows me to be less judgmental. I’m not sure if she remembers, but the first time I met Laurie ( she really, really didn’t like me. And to be fair, I felt the same way. We had next to nothing in common and that was the end of it. It was because of conversations we started having via social networking, tweets about life, books, etc that we discovered we had way more in common than I ever imagined. Social networking lets you watch, observe and learn about someone over time – not just that chance encounter – if you give it a chance.

3. It keeps me from talking to myself. I work at home. Alone in my basement. Its kinda boring down here – so while I work, I listen to music or get random Facebook Messages, IM’s & DM’s throughout the day from other people that are in the same situation. Its like our version of running into someone my the water cooler, or popping our head over the cube. Its like a little insulated support network that reads over each others blogs before they go public, helps get us unstuck when we can’t figure out how to do something on our new mac or just someone saying Hi.

4. I learn stuff. A lot of stuff from a lot of people who are way smarter than I am. Sometimes it isn’t so much of learning as it is a new perspective that I hadn’t considered before. I love to constantly be expanding my mind and learning new things – even when they are totally random.

5. I can do it on my own time. Unlike webinars and meetings and whatever – I can do social networking while i am working, when I am at the gym, or sitting on my couch. It doesn’t matter to anyone else if I am there at a particular time as long as I get back to them. (This may go back to my commitment issues…hmm….)

6. I can just be me. (well, the me you would get if you knew me) I am who I am and people will judge me regardless. If you think I am a ‘party girl’ because I post pictures of us having fun at conferences – then you obviously choose not to see that I am also there at 8am tweeting on the sessions or know anything about me. Like many things, I am a bit of an aquired taste – you love me or you don’t and that is fine. My goal is to be me, not try and be who you think I should be.

7. I like the personal/social part of it. My goal in life isn’t to be friends with you. I’m not impressed by the fact that you have 40,000 readers on your blog or you speak at SHRM. I don’t really ready all your PR you send out. Honestly, who cares. That isn’t YOU.

8. I rarely travel where I am alone. Because of this network – anytime I travel – I have someone to grab lunch, dinner, drinks, etc with. It makes work trips much less boring and I usually end up making really great connections because of it.

9. Why not? That is all.

Cross Posted from

Views: 233

Comment by Slouch on January 14, 2010 at 10:01am
Comment by Brian Meeks on January 14, 2010 at 10:39am
What a tremendous post. This spoke to me, because I too work at home. I like it that you are doing things your way. It rings true to me. Keep it up.
Comment by Pete Radloff on January 14, 2010 at 10:59am
Bravo on this post Sarah. I'd be surprised if alot of us didnt feel the same.
Comment by Sarah White on January 14, 2010 at 11:08am
Jason - Really? That video? Lets get a new one in London #soootired

Bryan & Pete - Thanks! I appreciate the feedback and love that you can relate.
Comment by Slouch on January 14, 2010 at 11:24am
It's a good video.
Comment by Christa McCabe on January 14, 2010 at 5:28pm
I agree with Brian and Pete, this grabbed me, thanks for sharing!
Comment by Sarah White on January 14, 2010 at 6:07pm
Thanks Christa - Glad you enjoyed it!
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on January 14, 2010 at 10:32pm
Sarah that's a good post- very personal. Was the advice you were given to be less revealing online ? That scares some people, but it's probably a net positive over time. I don't like the term social networking and I never have....but thats for another post... do you think its possible to be an online extravert and a real-life introvert ? hmmmm I'm an ENTJ in both worlds I think.....
Comment by Sarah White on January 15, 2010 at 12:06am
Martin - Thanks for the response. The advice I was given was along those lines...but a little more random.

I am an ESTJ in real life - but a low E - like a 53% - I think in the online world I figure if people don't like me they don't have to follow/friend/read my blog/etc.
Comment by Hassan Rizwan on January 15, 2010 at 2:43am
Sarah, your post turns out to be a hit everytime and i find 2 reasons for it. 1. You speak your mind wihtout being shy. 2 You speak about topics that people could easily relate to. I appreciate your social networking strategy and also how you have gained so much of name throgh it. An inspiration for all social media enthusiasts. To me it seems that you have a talent to say exactly what others think. This quality i believe is still not utilized upto its potential by you. You deserve to move ahead and hope you do.


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