Here's a term that has evolved almost as much as the Internet itself. In fact I have to confess, when I first heard the term being widely used, I only considered MySpace and later Facebook in the context of "social" media. And being busy trying to run a small business (especially in the last 4 years) I saw no reason why anyone would need to waste their time on Facebook.
Telling your "friends" where you were going, what you were doing, what you did last night, etc. etc., seemed like something for completely unengaged people to try to pretend to have friends and a life and yet it seemed like more and more people were doing it.
In fact, a report by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that the desire to check social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter were among the toughest-to-resist temptations — equivalent to cigarettes and sex!
What? Wait a minute.
Having formerly engaged in both of these (hold your comments), that seemed like a real stretch.
Then I started having people say things like, "I saw your son's new car" or "your grandson is so cute" or "the cake your daughter baked looked amazing".
These comments were coming from people who had not seen my son's car or my grandson or my daughter's cake. I hadn't seen the car or the cake!
"How did you know that?"
"I saw it on his/her Facebook page."
Huh? Was I missing something?
I never thought of myself as "out of touch" with technology. Heck, I had a computer at home back when we had to boot it up with a floppy disc. Our first computer at HVAC was a Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 with an 8 megabyte hard drive. That's right...8 megabyte!
But to me social media had always seemed like something for "slacktivists". According to the Urban Dictionary, "slacktivism" is defined as "The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem."
Then I began to read article after article about how some companies, especially small companies, were using social media to engage with their customers in meaningful ways. They could get virtually immediate feedback and act on that feedback. And since almost everyone was waking around with "internet connectivity" in their pocket, this started to make sense.
Fast forward to today.
With our website (www.gohvacsales.com), our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/gohvacsales), our HVAC Blog (www.gohvacsales.blogspot.com) and now our Twitter page (www.twitter.com/gohvacsales) we are definitely looking for ways to stay in touch with customers, suppliers and each other. And they have proven to be a great way to share pictures, stories and events with everyone.
Now don't get me wrong. I still have no interest in telling your "friends" where you were going, what you were doing, what you did last night, etc. etc., but it's definitely NOT about completely unengaged people trying to pretend to have friends and a life.
It hasn't been that long ago that I would never have imagined that I'd be "tweeting", but you know what? It's kind of fun.
So if you haven't already, jump in. If you are a seasoned, socially connected person, then by all means, "like us" on Facebook, "follow us" on Twitter and comment on our blogs. We'd love to hear from all of you.