Although I spend a fair amount of time engaged in some fashion in social media I have mastered none of it. In fact, I find it frustrating, meaning social media itself, not the mastery itself.
I have no expertise in it whatsoever.
Instead I find people who are and pick their brains to no end.
I’ve realized I can make better use of my time (and my sanity) if I don’t try to become an expert in everything.
(I may have studied a little too much Plato in college, but it makes this make sense)
A few years ago, I attended the Catholic New Media Conference. I’d like to tell you I did it on purpose but I just got lucky. It was small, reasonably priced, and easy to travel to. I had reached a point where I needed to learn more before I got buried in the noise of the internet.
I was so overwhelmed after one day, but I knew I was in the right place for the right reason, and I knew I wasn’t done learning from this pool of talent.
I went home and did my research, and then I kept tabs on the people that gave talks, the people I remembered seeing, even the people who started following me on Tw!tter for no reason in particular.
At the most recent CNMC I came prepared. I made two mental lists the “need to” and the “want to” list.
Patrick Padley was on the “need to” list. After sending an unknown amount of emails to companies I thought would be a good match for increasing CP awareness and getting no response. I knew I wanted to pick his brain to know what I could do differently, what I could do better.
Maria Johnson was also on the “need to” list. I needed to thank her personally for her help and inspiration. She made my brain light up like a pinball machine at my first CNMC and the lights haven’t dimmed much since.
And lest I forget Greg Willits who ended up at the top of my “want to” list after delivering his keynote. You know how there are people that can tell you things you don’t want to hear but when you hear it it doesn’t seem that bad? I never thought I’d thank someone for telling me things I didn’t want to hear.
Basically, my advice for using social media for advocacy is this, do what you’re good at (hopefully it’s something you like too). Seek out the advice of people who are experts in the areas in which you fall short.
I’m participating in WEGO Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. If you want to find out more about Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge visit their blog, Facebook, Twitter. You can find more posts by searching #HAWMC.