What’s your approach to social media?

Though we’ve gotta say goodbye for the summer

As we head into the last long weekend before fall (my favourite time of year), I thought it’s a good time to reprise the blog post I wrote on the ways we approach to social media. And besides, swimming metaphor season is almost done…

When you think about your social media personality are you a diver, jumper, wader or splasher?

  • Diver: You’re a natural and effortlessly glide into new networks. You know instinctively what to do and how to build your community. I’ve seen this with some people on Twitter, blogs, Facebook and recently Pinterest. I’m making a generalization here, but I think many divers are under 35 and grew up as digital natives.
  • Jumper: I’m not talking about the Brooklyn Bridge story William Holden tells in Network, ‘don’t do it kid, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you’. I mean in a good sense. A jumper doesn’t have the same finesse a diver has. But you have excitement and will and don’t want to miss out on the action! Trouble is, you cannonball in so quickly, you don’t always look where you’re going or anticipate who’s going to get soaked. So you make dumb mistakes. Sometimes small ones, other times it’s the stuff that gets you fired. Advice: take a few seconds to look before you leap. And maybe you should invest in some diving lessons, too.
  • Wader: You’re the cautious type. Or perhaps you’re just plain scared – ‘shy and nervous’ as Kim Mitchell says. You look at the great time everyone’s having and like what you see but just aren’t sure if you’re ready to put yourself out there. So you dip a toe into the water and maybe even go a bit farther in. Slowly…Slowly… Often you panic and run for the hills because the water is too cold for your temperament. The challenge for waders is to get over your fear of the unknown and then venture out at your own pace.  Just keep moving ahead!
  • Splasher: These are people who only think of themselves. They’ll do anything to elicit a reaction regardless of the damage it causes. They’re boors, selfish and definitely hard to take. Sure they have a certain sense of fun, which might make them charming if you’re not on the receiving end of their mayhem. But mostly you want to avoid these trolls. Online, unfollowing is an easy trick. In real life, that’s harder to accomplish.

So which am I? I hate to admit it, but I’m a wader mostly. And boy do I wish I could dive…

I started blogging in 2007, having thought about it since 2005, when I first heard about RSS and other things social from Giovanni Rodriguez at Counselors Academy’s annual conference. I had to let it percolate for a while. Instead of creating, I started by reading blogs and occasionally offering a comment…listening. I signed up early for Twitter but it took me about 18 months to actually tweet (and even longer to say the word tweet :) ).

I began as a critic because I didn’t get how the site worked. Too many people hide behind criticism when really they’re petrified of change.

Today, you could call me a passionate wader. I walk in way faster, test the waters and push ahead. I no longer sit on the sidelines and gawk.

Where do you fit in and how would you describe your approach to social media?

A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blog and Thornley Fallis blog.

About Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman is a digital, social media and communications strategist, content marketer, social media trainer and instructor and co-founder of three PR agencies. He blogs at myPALETTE and hosts the Inside PR podcast.



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