If you follow me on Twitter or a friend of mine on Facebook, you know I spend some time on these social media platforms.
OK, I spend a great deal of time, especially when you consider that when I'm on my laptop I have my TweetDeck up and running the entire time. (And yes, I have switched back to TweetDeck. Might ought to update you about that but been busy. Still would like to try out HootSuite. But I digress.)
I'll be honest, I was very hesitant about signing up and joining Facebook and Twitter, especially the latter. Yet, the more time I've invested in social media, the more I see some very good benefits.
First and foremost, I caution and heed that Facebook and Twitter can be great time wasters. It's easy to flitter away the day just playing games on Facebook or tweeting about anything and everything on Twitter. So, one needs to be careful how much they spend on these mediums. They can be addicting. (He types as he looks in the mirror.)
Yet, what I have found to be most beneficial about these platforms is exactly what they were designed to do: making connections.
It's been amazing the connections I've been able to make through Facebook and Twitter. Not just social connections like finding family and long-lost friends, but professional contacts as well.
I have made some great social media friends with other sports (especially baseball) fans on Twitter. And I can't wait for the MLB regular season to get started. It was a BLAST tweeting during the MLB postseason. It didn't matter the game or the rooting interests, for at the root of it, we're all baseball fans. (And yes, my bride thinks I'm weird for watching a game on TV with my laptop on my lap 'tweeting' about the game. But she loves me anyway. :-) )
In addition to the great sports fans I've met, I've made great professional contacts on three different levels.
First, I have been able to connect with some very good public relations experts. I can not tell you how great it is 1.) receive regular tips and ideas from such talented and creative minds and 2.) have instant interaction and conversation with them. I can honestly say I have implemented and have plans to implement several of the tips I have glean off of Twitter.
Secondly, the media contacts I have established via Twitter have helped me out with my job as a SID tremendously. I've really able to strengthen the working relationship with our local TV station as well as help expand the media awareness of Union College athltics through social media. It is amazing the exposure one can get from a simple retweet by a media outlet or any other fellow tweeter. And when you are retweeted, it's always good to thank those who do so as that really helps to strengthen the relationship and/or build new ones. (Again he types while looking in the mirror.)
Last but certainly not least, I can not put a price tag on the connections I've been in the SID community. These relationships are priceless to me.
You see, when I first got into the SID game, I felt like an island unto myself. And working at a school in the NAIA, I felt even more alone at times. But then, I got involved in NAIA-SIDA and CoSIDA and starting to meet and get know more SIDs out there, and the feeling of loneliness was not as prevalent. And the www.sidboard.com message board helped with that as well.
However, with Facebook and Twitter, I've gotten to know and relate to and with more and more SIDs from across the country at all levels of the profession.
I can't tell you the piece of mind one gets from knowing that you are not alone. There are others going through the same battles you are facing. You are not the only one who has to deal with a difficult coach, a prima donna athlete, helicopter parents and crossover season.
And in sharing our angst, we can find out how each other has dealt with these situations, what works best and what was a disaster. Learning and sharing with one another benefits all who are involved.
Anymore, I chuckle when thinking about the average fan and at how wrapped up they get into their favorite team. After being in this profession for so long, I really only have one 'true' favorite team: Union College, my employer.
While there are schools/rivals you like to beat (don't we all want our teams to win), I'm not competing against my fellow SID. If anything, we're on the same team. After all, is it not our job to tell the story of the athletic event? So would it not benefit us all to work together?
I would think so.