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Everything I need to know about Social Media I learned in Kindergarten

Using Social Media is easy, but it’s the “media” part that sends us into a tale spin. Many people fear change, shy away from technology and hide from the unknown. So I’m throwing away the media. Bye media. Bye.

What’s left? That’s right, “Social”.

Being social is easy. We do it everyday. On the phone, in the grocery store, at a party and at work. The same rules that apply to being social in the real world apply to the online one. Whether you use twitter, Facebook, a blog or Linkedin the same rules apply. And lucky for us, we learned all these rules in kindergarten.

Rule One: Listen

Mrs. Miller was my kindergarten teacher. She was about 12 feet tall, if I remember correctly, and she had it out for me. I was basically a mouth with legs. My report card that year came with a note that read “Chris could talk the leg off a chair.” Being a very visual person, I imagined myself doing just that and found it quit amusing! One thing Mrs. Miller did teach me though was to listen. It was ok to talk at the appropriate moments, but when someone was speaking, she urged me to take it all in.

When being social on the interwebs, the same applies. Listen to what others are saying. If you listen more than you talk, you will make friends and have more fuel to add to the conversation later. Being part of the conversation is key and what better way to take part than to actually “hear” what someone is saying.

Rule Two: Share

Remember wanting to play with something some other kid had? Remember when he won’t give it to you? Remember punching him him in the ear? No? Well I do. Jeremy Sampson was not happy that day.

Sharing information is one way to make friends online. You know things I want to know. Tell me! It will build trust and make you a resource to others.

Rule Three: Be Yourself

While many of the other boys where digging in the indoor sandbox or playing with the blocks, I was over at the “house” area. This was a section of the classroom that looked just like a tiny house, made just for people my size. Many times I would put on an apron, sit in the rocking chair with two giant pencils and pretend to knit a scarf. Mrs. Miller asked me once why I I liked to do this. I told her that I wanted to be just like my Grandma when I grew up ( I adored my Grandmother). She then grabbed her Polaroid, took a pic and gave it to me to take home to my Grandma Gilda. That made me happy. It was ok to be me.

It’s imperative that your personality shine through online. When you are your true self you come off as transparent and honest. You have nothing to hide. You also attract the people that will like you for who you are. These people will be the ones that will want to work with you and who you will want to work with. Working with the right people is key to a successful business and a happy you.

Rule Four: Come Prepared

The first day of school was always the best day of the year for me. This was the day I had everything before I started to lose things. My mother would take me to Zellers a few weeks before and we would shop for new pencils and paper and gym shoes and rulers and an art smock and lots of other fun stuff. Because of my wonderful mother I came to school ready to learn, play and have fun.

It’s not the time to start creating your brand the minute you hit Social Media. That’s the time to showcase it. Before you start your adventures online, you should be prepared. Start a policy. Have a plan of action. Know who you are.

Rule Five: Play Nice

I was at Tony Perano’s birthday party. His Mother came into the living room and stood before about 12 hungry and excited 6 year old boys. In her very strong Italian accent she stated, “No pushing. No shoving. No fighting.” All i remember from that day were those words and the cake. I’m a sucker for an ice cream cake.

Picking fights, causing conflict and making enemies is one way to ruin your brand while using Social Media. I’m not saying you need to roll over and pee on the floor the minute someone confronts you. You can still stand your ground. But if someone is antagonizing you, it’s ok to walk away and not reply. Plus if you do decide to get into that tiff, everyone around you will see that fight happen and you will look like a digital crap disturber to all the on-lookers. Be the nice guy. Don’t punch. Don’t shove. Don’t fight.

When you look at Social Media in terms of just being social, I think everything becomes clearer. Act the way you do at a regular social event and you’ll be just fine. One last thing we all learned in kindergarten that applies to Social Media: Not everyone needs to know when you have to use the little boys room.