Thursday, March 8, 2012

Inspiring Women: Sharon Hayes: Putting the Social in Social Media

For many, Sharon Hayes needs no introduction, having been profiled for her social media savvy in publications such as The Huffington Post I've found that her daily interactions and positive messages on Twitter, Sharon shows how to use social media to good advantage because she gives so much through the medium. I remember Sharon tweeting about welcoming everyone we encounter on Twitter because all of us were new once. She doesn’t like direct messages via Twitter but prefers to engage in conversations via her stream and also offers a lot of strategies for getting optimum usage out of Twitter.

However, most influential for me is Sharon’s concept of “snacking.” Social media and our multitasking, technology-driven culture embodies a condition Sharon aptly calls “relationship snacking.” (Another woman I admire used the phrase “treating others like fast food.”) And this is possible not only with an uncountable number of Facebook friends or Twitter connections but in every day encounters among family and analog friends. Not giving the time of day and not being equal to the relationship, I see this for myself so often. Sharon acknowledges her own difficulties, neglecting friendships over time and feeling resentful when others multitask in her presence. That’s why her Twitter usage is so striking, inviting others into conversation, sustaining the interchange and showing genuine concern.

I’m also drawn to Sharon’s words on information snacking: “We skim and get the general idea of information rather than absorbing and understanding it.” I’m especially guilty of this activity. Sharon suggests filtering, taking the time to understand what’s relevant to us, and “take action.” It reminds me a quote from Hesse, “only the thinking we act on has any value,” and the distinction between information and knowledge explained to me by a teacher “knowledge is what you have after all the notebooks have been burned.”

Sharon has two intriguing books scheduled for publication in 2012, My Paradigm Shift, which is about her own personal growth, and another highlighting others' success stories, Don't Tell Me I Can't.


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