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10 Ways To Be “Socially Excellent” Online

By Matt Mattson, Jessica Gendron Williams and Josh Orendi

The quality of our interactions determines the quality of our personal and organizational reputations. High quality interactions = high quality organization. This is as true for on-line interactions as it is for face-to-face interactions. Many people are still struggling to figure out how to be social on social media.

So, how does one truly maximize their on-line social potential? Enter: “Social Excellence.”

Social Excellence [n]: A state of perpetual generosity, curiosity, positivity, and openness to limitless possibility. A desire to intentionally connect with others. The ability to engage in deep, meaningful conversation. Acting in a responsible and respectable manner, with high expectations of others. Being authentic and living everyday with integrity as the best version of yourself. Being confident and vulnerable. Being fun and compassionate. Being open, kind and bold. The deepest level of societal participation and contribution.

This concept is based in real-life, human-to-human, face-to-face interactions. Can it be translated to the on-line space?

Here are 10 ways to be socially excellent on-line:

1. Be the best version of yourself: No matter how annoyed you are with the slow driver in front of you, the crying baby on your flight or the bad service at the restaurant, try and refrain from being overly negative. What does complaining about someone in 140 characters solve? Not a whole lot. Be mindful of your content and try to stay positive in what you submit to the world wide web. For instance, “This dude in front of me smells. FML.” doesn’t really raise the level of discourse in your life, does it?  Choose the best version of you — even in your tweets and posts.

2. Be curious: The internet is filled with amazing things that are more enriching than a Facebook check, YouTube laugh, or Amazon.com. Find topics you are passionate about and have a desire to learn more about them. Here are a few good places to start: TED, Seth Godin, MIT, Free on-line magazines, etc. Better yet, ask your on-line “friends” for suggestions.

3. Be generous: “This made me think of you…” followed by a thoughtful quote, article, photo, video, link, etc. can be a wonderful gift.  As you login to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or whatever your social medium of choice is, think about how you can make someone’s day a little brighter with your on-line interactions. Make a few people’s day every day and you’ll find yourself surrounded with caring relationships.

4. Be authentic: On-line, be who you truly are. If you believe in something say it, share it, retweet it, or offer a “Like.” Don’t just post things you think people want to see. But be sure to refer to idea #1 above.  Keep this rule in mind though… read twice, post once. Make sure what you’re saying or posting really represents what you mean, your values, and who you are from the point of view of the people on the other end. Remember, your audience is varied and diverse, consider the best way to truly express who you are so that they can understand and appreciate you.

5. Be vulnerable: Anonymous messages or comments aren’t Socially Excellent. Own what you say, and as much as possible, do so publicly. Vulnerably, boldly, and thoughtfully sharing appreciation, compliments, and even constructive criticism, is a way to truly engage with the world “below the surface.” Relationships, including on-line relationships, are built through heart-to-heart connections and those require emotional involvement. Don’t be a troll.

6. Be a connector: Connect people to things they didn’t already know. Whether it is a mutual friend, an idea, an article, an event or a picture – people love receiving something personal that says, “My colleague posted this and I thought of you. You two should meet each other.” Now the operative word of this idea is PERSONAL. Try your best not to sound like various spam alerts. With a personal touch, being a connector goes a long way.

7. Be a supporter: Social Media translation: retweet, repost, click the Like button, #FF. People want to feel like their ideas, pictures, events and articles are worthwhile. The best way you can let them know you like is by letting them know you LIKE. That thumbs up icon on Facebook is a poster’s goal. That retweet on twitter makes that user feel special. Go ahead. Make their day.

8. Be a real person: Social media is a great way to connect with people. However, you will always fall short if you are trying to replace face-to-face communication. Use social media as an avenue to set up lunch, coffee or any other person-to-person interaction. “Hey @justinbieber, instead of tweeting back and forth about this, would you like to grab lunch? When are you free?” (with 38 characters to spare).

9. Be a wisdom seeker: Social media offers an opportunity to surround yourself with thought leaders.  Choose to have only one degree of separation from content experts. Follow them, repost them, link to them, and then ask them for their input. They’re more likely to respond and link you to their network than you might think.

10. Be the person who gathers others together: Be about something on-line. Don’t just be on-line. Gather others together, or join others who are already gathered together, about things you care about.  Build a movement by tagging and linking your posts. Attach photos, videos, and articles to make posts more meaningful. If you are about SOMETHING, you can quickly become an important go-to source for information and networking about that thing. You can influence, you can lead. Social Excellence isn’t just about being nice. It is about intentionally connecting socially so that you can make social impact. The worldwide web machine, if used properly, provides unlimited potential to do just that.

Your on-line “social self” is an extension of your real self. The interactions you create on-line, in today’s world, define who you are as much as (or maybe more than) anything else. Social media provides the opportunity to exponentially improve your reputation – but it also provides the opportunity to exponentially increase your potential for making other people’s lives better.

When you’re on-line, choose to be perpetually generous, curious, and positive. Be intentional about connecting with others on a deep, meaningful level. Be authentic, open, and vulnerable to invite warmer, richer, more heartfelt relationships on-line. Choose to be Socially Excellent.

In 2002, President Matthew Matson and CEO Josh Orendi founded Phired Up Productions, an education firm that provides membership growth solutions to cause-oriented organizations. Jessica Gendron Williams, vice president, joined the Phired Up team soon after and helped build the company and its messages with Matt and Josh.

Along with the rest of the Phired Up Team, they deliver over 250 educational programming days each year to organizations, at conferences, on college campuses, and more. Mattson, Orendi & Gendron Williams have had a hand in growing over 5,000 student groups in addition to providing training and coaching services to caused-based groups ranging from major national non-profit organizations, to community professional networking associations, to local causes, to 150+ year-old international leadership organizations. These three young entrepreneurs are the co-authors of the new book Social Excellence: We Dare You - How Handshakes Can Change the World. For more information, please visit www.PhiredUp.com.

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