The topic of social media has created thousand of stories, articles, tweets, experts and advice for people and businesses alike. The reality of things is that when you strip the media, which changes or seems to by the day, all you've got is the social part.
And even on the Web, you've got to like who you are to sound authentic. This is valid for companies, brands, and people. The relationships, business, followers, whatever that may be, are all outcomes.
This begs a few questions - are you trying too hard? Do you think you can "leverage" these new channels to push your message? When are you going to have enough? Friends, followers, conversations, even transactions.
A couple of days ago, when I read Chris' post about keeping it real, I could not help but tweet the link and add my two cents - well, 140 characters. In the post, Chris shares that someone asked:
“Is Chris Guillebeau turning into a broadcaster? He’s not interacting with his followers anymore.”
It's the same question I get occasionally.
We both share a lot of content, on our blogs and on Twitter. We both help many connect with others and ideas. There is a lot more to my activities than what is out there on Twitter - or here for that matter. In fact, if you knew you might appreciate how little I broadcast what I'm working on to benefit others.
To paraphrase a good motivational slogan - I just do it.
Because he travels, Chris sometimes doesn't have access to a physical way to be online. Because my work requires many meetings throughout the day, I often have entire stretches of time with no ability to split my attention on Twitter, for example. So I don't. This is my way of keeping things real.
Chris and I have about the same Twitter strategy - sharing great content written by others, engaging in conversation when possible, using updates to add value. What I'm working on eventually makes its way into posts that potentially give you something to think about for your own content marketing or communications and PR strategy.
I also go out of my way to lave comments at other sites, where people spend time building on the ideas they find here, and on just plain great content. One of the easier ways for me to tell you I enjoyed your post is to share it with my network and community.
In addition to Chris Guillebeau, who keeps it real in my network?
Olivier Blanchard because he calls things what they are. I will forgive him that he was made in France. There is that age-old rivalry within Europe.
Many of the qualities I admire in his work revolve around being genuine and present. Those cannot ever be underestimated.
He also writes extremely long posts more often than not, citing literary figures on occasion, and has a good sense of humor - a kindred spirit.
He is @thebrandbuilder on Twitter and you're so incredibly lucky that he would take on your project.
Ann Handley has such a way with community building. She is not afraid of close ups and getting personal, has a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and can write amazingly well. Very gracious in interviews, Ann is on everyone's list of favorites for those qualities.
Ann is definitely someone you want to spend time getting to know.
One of the smartest marketing people I met in the past year, Mark Earls totally gets that you want to look at things from all sides and not take anything at face value. If you take a peek at his blog, you will understand why.
As Mark himself writes (watch the video, too) human beings are not animals that make decisions on their own. We do what we do because of other people.
Reading the book will probably lead you to re-examine your choices, decisions, preferences, taste and even identity.
Follow him on twitter @herdmeister.
She came to SxSWi to facilitate a conversation around Culture Wars: Generosity v Microcelebrity. Kami Huyse is a generous microcelebrity in public relations circles. The conversation we had about EgoChat was valuable and animated.
I like the fact that she works with a virtual agency, and engages in projects with other parties. You will also find her on the speaker's roster for talks and workshops with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a professional association I've been a member of for years.
She tweets @kamichat.
Brian Solis is an incredibly smart, fun, and down to earth professional. We often think alike, and write in long form. So much so, that when we ended up collaborating on a post recently we basically took the whole front page of the blog to scroll down and read.
Brian is an entrepreneur at heart and a very enterprising one at that. He has written so much and there is so much written about him, that I suspect you already know him quite well.
He tweets @BrianSolis.
Toby Bloomberg was among the very first marketing professionals I read and then met within a year. She has a unique and recognizable style in everything she does - writing, hosting a radio TalkShow, or sharing her ideas on Twitter.
*** Did I mention that I was also on BlogTalk radio at SxSWi? I might have forgotten to circle back with you on that. ***
We were also both in issue number 8 of Personal Branding magazine - female power brands.
Follow her @TobyDiva.
Another fellow European, Francois Gossieaux, has what would be the ideal work for me - at least from the outside. He gets to research and talk about the Tribalization of Business, a topic that has fascinated me for years.
A really good conversationalist, presenter, and all around cultured person, Francois involves others in his projects, builds communities in his spare time, and is a really good listener.
Meet Francois on Twitter @fgossieaux.
I know few people who can match her warmth, consideration, and smarts. CK is a true community builder.
A fellow marketer, CK joins projects and people with the energy and enthusiasm of someone who knows how to be in the flow of life.
When you ask her a question, you know you will get an honest - and kind - answer in response. She has a healthy dose of curiosity and has been known to ask very good questions herself. If you want to have an epiphany, find her here.
Or you can find her on Twitter @ckepiphany.
Harry Joiner is a marketing headhunter for online and search who understands SEO himself along with the value of sharing. He knows that to find a great candidate, you need to be out there to be found yourself.
He was also the very first person who put me on their blog roll when I got Conversation Agent started. Thank you, Harry, for the vote of confidence.
If you're looking for a job now, listen to career advice for desperate job seekers, a podcast he did recently with Peter Clayton. The top three pieces of advice are: (1) leave on your own terms; (2) sharply define the value that you create; (3) have a “keyword – rich” and “metrics – rich” resume. He is @eCommercejobs on Twitter.
She was among one of a handful of people to welcome me to the 'sphere. Stephanie Quilao is a beautiful person, writer, and a geek to boot.
Stephanie lives authentically and is a joy to talk with and read. I like her philosophy on fitness. With words like lean, advantage, endorphins, boost, strength, kick ass, reward, fitalicious (I kept trying to write flirtatious), hawt (sexy and hip), you cannot help but be intrigued.
There are many more amazing people in my network, of course. These here really do like who they are and in turn make it easy to like them, too. It's Friday, so add them to your #followfriday list and tell me - who are the people who keep it real in your own network?