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4 Traits of the Modern Social Communicator
Posted on May 17th 2014
Very rarely do we like being told what to do, especially when it comes to doing our job. But most of us do appreciate sound advice. In fact, we prefer that useful information is shared with us.
With this in mind, the thoughts below are offered to those who are in a period of early discovery or are beginning to find their footing in the field of communications within our #SocialMedia-saturated era. I propose to flesh out four distinct traits, based on personal experience, which I feel characterize (if not epitomize) the modern social communicator.
By 'communicator', I refer to any professional assuming a communications/marketing role or holding any accountability for thoughtfully and effectively communicating on behalf of someone or something else.
Additionally, 'social' pertains to said individual's enthusiastic presence and fastidious participation in social media related activities.
Brevity (of what you share)
Not every form of expression is meant to be brief, but when attempting to be concise, good diction is a must. For some, this is second nature. Although I suspect the majority persevere through many lessons in perfecting the art form.
Tweets have certainly amplified the significance of brevity, thereby elevating the understated value of being succinct yet substantive in 140 characters.
But it's not just about Twitter flashing 'brevity jazz hands'. The majority of your short-spanned target audience will want to quickly discern and easily digest your content. If they can't, then you've lost them.
Selectivity (with how and whom you share)
While networking should come naturally to all communicators, those who shine in relationship-building are quite possibly among the most picky and private (or are at least strong advocates of privacy).
Why is this? Where do you find this mythical social creature that floats like a butterfly and stings like a B.. minus? Precisely.
Amassing unmanageable lists of connections is pointless if you are merely gaming for optics. So what if you have social media followers in the thousands when you can't even get one or two to react to your tweet?
The same applies to how frequent you turn on the sharing fire hose. Does every fire really beg for a gushing hydrant of attention? Some fires are best left to burn out on their own (even though sometimes it's tough to resist oversharing). Resist!
Visibility (of online engagement)
Some social start-ups have attempted to quantify social influence through algorithms that monitor and depict a given profile based on how active (and sometimes 'noisy') they are on social channels. Not exactly the kind of visibility that engenders trust and confidence IMO.
Visible engagement entails consistently demonstrating a willingness to dialogue collaboratively, lend support without expecting reward, and even offer unbiased recommendation when needed. Twitter chats are an ideal example of this type of visible, online interaction.
Although a concerted effort is required not to hijack these online sessions into ear-bleeding echo chambers. Having to express your thoughts without pretense while avoiding being misleading or pejorative can be quite the balancing act.
Serendipity (of unsolicited endorsement)
It feels good when you're appreciated for what you do and what you have accomplished.
But it feels even better if the sentiment of appreciation comes to you unassumingly; the way you'd run into a fond acquaintance by chance and have coffee with them on the spot.
This poor word ('serendipity') has had its share of overuse and misuse in many social rants. But the notion of obtaining non-contrived approval through serendipitous circumstances is perhaps one of the most endearing and honourable experiences.
Well deserved and hopefully accurately depicted, receiving a genuine vote of confidence (either verbally or in writing) is indeed testament to one's artful mastery of the three noted traits above. While you can't exactly "master" serendipity, you can certainly aim to be consistent and rigourous in your communications practice; enough that you inadvertently increase chances of serendipitous moments. This is not a formula. It's just good practice.
As we are all aware, the state of serendipity is not a trait that individuals personify. However, the serendipitous nature evident in the random confluence of circumstance, which lead to gaining trust and support from others is certainly noteworthy.
It is relatively easy to wordsmith an abstract for the sake of securing validation. What distinguishes one recommendation from another lies not only in the frank, unadulterated spirit of the message but also in the common themes that surface when others describe and attest to your good work.
What makes a modern social communicator? Do feel free to share your thoughts.
image source: businesshabit.com