It seems like this week was one of THOSE weeks for an awful lot of people. I think everyone is ready to unplug for a few days and spend time with the people who matter most to us. Amidst all of the fatigue and stress, I’ve seen a lot of blogs and tweets this week about things that are wrong with Social Media. I get it. Earlier this week I was right there with you. But all things told, when I sit down a week from yesterday, just before I begin to stuff myself as if I was the turkey, I will express gratitude for this space, along with many other things in my life.
I started this blog almost exactly 7 months ago, which is also when I started taking Twitter a bit more seriously. I am thankful for so much about what the last 7 months have brought me, and so, even though it seems negativity is the order of the day, I’d like to take note of some of the positive things I’ve garnered from my Social Media experience so far.
1. I was able to engage in real-time chats with people in all different facets of the marketing in world in which I live and work. I would not have my ideas sharpened, challenged, honed, and molded. Not just “Twitter chats” officially, but chats with people just haphazardly because we were online at the same time.
2. I was able to witness the beautiful process of people evolving from unsure to leaders, from strangers to key community members. People like @grit08 and @gagasgarden, who both introduced themselves to me as unsure of how to “do” Twitter, are now integral members of my community and the communities of many other people.
3. I have been able to watch networking in action like I never would have been able to witness before through people like @CateTV and @MayaREGuru. It would be enough if folks like these were just friends with you, but they introduce you to other people. They forge connections for you when you don’t even know you’re looking. It’s a wonder to watch.
4. I have been able to read books and then converse with the authors. When does that happen?
5. I have written words. A lot of words. And people have done me the immense honor of not only reading but also responding. It is a perpetual gift of time and effort and thought for which I am immensely grateful.
6. In the short time I have been in this space, I have seen three successful fundraisers for people in need. I’m sure there are tons more that are just beyond my radar.
7. Social Media has helped me keep abreast of the ever changing world that is Social Media, which has helped me keep our clients aware of what is going on where.
8. I was able to find extremely helpful forums for advice and growth – Third Tribe and 501 Mission Place, because of my involvement in Social Media.
9. I have been able to start a new blog and a weekly chat with the intent of addressing bullying, and I have been able, already, to help network people who need help with people who can help. I could not have done that without Social Media.
10. I not only have had the privilege of befriending people like @pushingsocial, @mentormarketing, and @dwesterberg, @j2_whittington, and @galactic, but I have watched all of these people, and more, evolve into true leaders. The opening was there for them to grow and develop into leaders, and they charged right on through.
11. I have watched my friend @REALChaseAdams create one of the most innovative and fastest growing groups I’ve seen on Twitter and on Facebook.
12. I have been able to watch friends like @exopoirier, @suzannevara, and @SMSJoe receive acclaim for talents and leadership I already had seen in them. Few things are more rewarding.
13. I have been able to place before myself a challenge of building a community out of the millions of people using a site called Twitter. I have worked hard and have begun to carve out a cozy community for myself, where I can alternately quote Barry Manilow and talk about Google Analytics. Sometimes all in 140 characters.
14. I have been able to witness acts of kindness that would be hard to find in the offline world. People have said things to me that have made me teary-eyed for the kindness of it. People have done things for me, unasked for, unexpected, because they wanted to help me succeed. Where else does that happen?
15. And yes, on Turkey Day, I will be thinking with wonder about all of the amazing, talented, kind, brilliant people I have met in less than 1 year. Was there really a time when I didn’t know Tristan, Deb, Jeannette, Ann, Beth, Marsha, Roy, Lisa Alexander, Mack, Tom, Tommy, Kyle, Allen, Chris, Stan, Maya, and Suzanne? It was only 7 months ago? How this community of people has enriched my life, my work, my professional goals and skills, the way I think, the way I live. Truly, if you can’t be grateful to Social Media for anything else, you can be grateful that it can give you an opportunity to meet golden people like these.
I know that the times are hard and uncertain still. Numbers in the WSJ don’t always tell the whole story. But it is during tough times that days like Thanksgiving are especially important. It’s when times are tough that it seems easiest to talk about what stinks about this, that, or the other thing. And Social Media is by no means perfect. There are plenty of times when I think about throwing my computer out the window. But truthfully, Social Media has been a road to too many good things, too many good people.
If you think about it, I’ll bet the same is true for you.