When I say “someone is active on social media”, what do you think? I suspect your initial thought is not necessarily a positive one. It probably is something like:
- They are reading their Facebook feed
- They are posting pictures on Instagram
- They are watching the latest dancing animal video on YouTube
At best, we think of social media as a distraction, some fun time away from the pressures of life. At worst, we think of it being a waste of time. For those of us old enough to remember, TV was characterized as a “vast wasteland” or the “boob tube”. Social media, for many people, is a vast wasteland. It is where time gets lost.
But what if you used social media for career good? Wouldn’t that be novel?
I have a recommendation. Find a few people who regularly write, video or podcast on social media about interesting topics. The topics could be about work, learning about something or self help. Preferably, make it someone local who you know. Read their material regularly. Comment on and forward their material to others.
Why do that? Because you are doing good
First, you are helping the writer (or the content producer) spread their content, which you thought was worthy of sharing. Helping others, especially when there is almost no way for them to help you back directly, is among life’s greatest treasures. You will probably make their day a lot better just by acknowledging their work. Why not be a positive force for someone?
Second, your posting is helping your connections in ways you cannot imagine. The item you comment on may be just the stimulus a friend or acquaintance needed for action. Perhaps you are linking them to someone they need to know, but did not know how to find. Maybe the posting is the first step in a long journey toward change. Even if you simply challenge your connections to think a little deeper, you are paying forward a dividend.
Third, you are helping others you might not be connected to. If one of your connections decides to forward the post to someone else, your circle of influence got much bigger. How cool would it be to help someone you don’t know, even if it was done indirectly? Isn’t that what you do when you give to a charity? If you believe in karma, doing good will come back to you. Maybe most importantly, you are doing good for the general good without any expectation of reward.
Fourth, you are helping yourself. You learn something by reading, listening or watching the post. You can have the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone even when that was not your motivation.
Fifth, you are helping your career. You show potential employers that you are actively engaged in a dialogue about relevant content. I read where only 20% of LinkedIn users are “active” on LinkedIn. Posting and commenting on articles is a great way to be active. Why not stand out in the crowd through a relatively simple gesture?
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”
Find an hour is your week. Pick a few people, preferably local, to follow. Face it, everyone reads popular people’s (Elon Musk, Simon Sinek, Warren Buffet) material and passes it on. Go for a local connection to maximize your uniqueness and your value. Read their stuff regularly. Pass it on – with a comment – to your connections. You will never know the exact good you did, but you will know you did some good.