"Technology has a great potential to change our lives for better." Do you think this is a good beginning of a book? You see, I am still trying to get more familiar with the idea that I have finally started finishing the book I have planned for about 12 months now. Originally it was intended to be a simple guide for inspiration to all my friends continuously asking "what is it that you really do?". I sat down, wrote down the list of chapters and started on the introduction to the book, but it did not FEEL right. I met few great writers and realised that my goals are not inspiring enough, not...effective. What do I really want to achieve when people dedicate few hours of their precious time to the words I have put down "on paper"? How can I ensure that by sharing my experience I will provide them with enough if inspiration and skill to take it and make it their own? It almost felt like my own idea lacked a larger context. Or maybe it was not well crystallised and...timed!
Last year has brought a great deal of changes in general awareness of social media and it's practical applications. And so many of my friends and colleagues suddenly started asking me different types of questions. "I am using Facebook, but I really cannot get my head around the real use of Twitter?". "I would like to open that small business, do you think I could use your advice on how to start a blog and share my story?". "My kids use Pinterest to connect, so can I use it for my own promotion if I am photographer? Is this the best place on-line to do so?". It seems to me that people (and by people I mean average users, not social media practitioners) are starting to ask the right questions in terms of what they really want to achieve. Often they have a feeling that something is cool and awesome, but maybe could be used effectively too? On other occasions they have doubts about social media and need a bit of guidance.
There is also a slightly negative effect of this increase in social media popularity - blind belief in trends, gurus and social media slang. It might come as a surprise to those of you who do not know me personally but I cannot stand gurus and ninjas. I work in social media marketing myself and on a daily basis I am facing marketers, PR professionals and other specialists now embracing the new, social tools on-line yet applying the very same old methods of thinking and adding value to the channels they use. They knowledge is fragmented and quite often misleading. And so I get frustrated when I am coming in as a geek speaking human language and need to re-set the way people think about the social web.
Social web is complex, ever-changing and pretty unpredictable. It does help though to have a clear understanding of its underlying principles, history and mechanics. It does help to reach out and ask the right questions before we do something stupid. It does help to get excited about a new trend but later experiment, test it and embrace the most practical and effective element of it. It also helps to be a bit sceptical about the web and people using it. It can change our lives for better if we are prepared to open up, present ourselves in a transparent way, take responsibility for our on-line reputation and manage it wisely. Which is exactly why my original idea of writing a book about why people should use the social web has shifted and crystallised into a book about our individual approach to the way we present ourselves on-line and the way we respond to all the feedback our image might generate. It is going to be a book about our personal take on our on-line reputation. It is not your company or your name that you should focus on. YOU ARE YOUR OWN BRAND. You might want to use my book as a guide or as a simple story - as you wish. I will do my best to pass on my best practices and experience from quite a few years of personal and professional social media presences and work. I will let you decide if and how you will make the most of it. So I will not even try to convince you that you should use the web. If I do this entire book writing thing right you will understand that YOU need to decide yourself if you are ready to embrace the web and shape who YOU are on-line.
I have now committed to daily writing of this book, so wish me luck. I am really good at kicking things off but I am equally rubbish at finishing them off. It works better if I am working under pressure, so...using great suggestions from Graeme I have decided to share the process with my blog readers and ask all of you for support on the way. I will ask you for help on particular topics too, I hope this will help me clarify smaller points of my book. Once the first draft is ready, it will be available for free on this site for a public review. The final copy will contain your feedback and few guest articles too, so stay tuned and check on me time to time;)