Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of Social Media

Once when I was about eighteen, and feeling nervous about my decision to attend Arizona State University (one of the largest public universities in the nation) I remember someone I trusted telling me not to worry, that as "birds of a feather flock together", like-minded people will always find each other. Since then, I have experienced this phenomenon enough times to fully agree. In fact in the last year, I have seen the power of social media speed this process up so much that I can't even think of an appropriate metaphor.

Now before you think I don't already know: I get that with this post I am flying in the face of good judgement and rule #2 of "10 Things You Need to Stop Tweeting About". But this isn't Tweeting! It's blogging! There's a difference, right? Right?

While I understand that using social media to discuss social media is redundant and often self-serving, I am also out to live a life of impact and joy with like-minded people. Enter @kaileenelise, @ALCinDC, @analiesemarie, @patricksalee, @azstiner and @laurajordan. Only one of these tweeting people actually lives in the same state as I do. Only two of these people have my personal cell phone number. There are a couple that I may never meet in person and a couple whose words and advice impact my work daily.

@ALCinDC is a good friend and fellow blogger who used to live here in Phoenix. We met in a very traditional way, having been introduced through her fiance whom I've known since college. While she now resides in Washington DC, we still talk daily over phone, text, instant messenger, and as of yesterday - video chat! (How amazing is it that she could take me on a tour of her new house in real time, from across the country?!)

@kaileenelise is a girl somewhere on the east coast whom I started "following" on twitter a few months ago, probably based on a comment she made to @tranquilista. Upon checking out her profile, I saw that she often tweets about things I am interested in. Recently she acknowledged her friend @analiesemarie's blog Tulips and Tea. Naturally, I checked it out and saw that not only does she have a great deal in common with @ALCinDC, she lives in the capital as well! Of course I sent the URL to @ALCinDC, who read it, contacted her, and now she and @analiesemarie regularly read each others posts, recommend local restaurants and activities to each other and may get coffee together one of these days!

So there I was yesterday, feeling oh-so-pleased with myself, having been a little like Friendship Cupid when I get a Twitter Direct Message from @analiesemarie. Apparently, she had recognized me as a fellow nonprofit professional though something I'd tweeted, and boom - overnight we were swapping emails and articles about fundraising. All I can say, is Everybody Wins.

I used to say that Twitter wasn't for everybody, that while I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is for old people, per se, I considered the value to be for work-related purposes. Now though, with the things I have learned and the friends I have made via that little chirping sound I just want to spread the joy and encourage others to try it out for themselves!


Ashley said...

Being an only child, I've always naturally tended to do things on my own rather than seek out others to congregate with, and as an artist, I usually work alone - just me and my paints. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical of twitter before I joined. But now I can see how it helps to connect people through ideas... and it speeds up the evolution of those ideas, hopefully to help them come to life in the the "real" world, creating businesses and making positive social impact. So... Megan, by pushing me to join Twitter you converted, not corrputed me. ;) By the way, 10 Things you need to stop twittering about was hilarious...and so was other stuff on that oatmeal site.
Also - you need to post more often! You always offer up something interesting to think about. :)

AnalieseMarie said...

Thanks so much for the mention!

I, too, am constantly amazed by the power of social media to connect like-minded people. As I delve further into the world of blogging and Twitter, I am constantly finding interesting connections and new friendships. I am glad to have connected with you, and look forward to reading more of your posts! :-)

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