Anastasia Ashman
January 28, 2014

What’s The True Value Of Social Networking?

You’re a leading a digital life. Do you sense that? Rather than going online to do something in particular and then going offline to where you actually live and work, the virtual world now represents a fuller picture of who you are and what you are up to. It complements and enriches and facilitates the rest of your operations.

It’s no coincidence that people who commit to using social media come to realize the deep and unique value of their connections online.


I was struck recently by these two heartfelt Twitter declarations by veterans in the tech industry, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Lilly, and Wall Street Journal tech reporter Katie Rosman. Both of them you’d think have been-there-done-that with online life.

Their astonishment and appreciation is genuine.

As we expand what we do online, we’re naturally doing new things and exploring new digital capabilities. We’re all living in a perpetual state of experimentation.


That’s how we get to the good stuff. The astonishment and the appreciation.

So, even if you’re new to online social networks, or unfamiliar with the personal and professional benefits of digital community, I would like you to know this:

It’s worth it.

It’s worth it to persist. To figure out which networks work for you. Maybe Instagram seems too unserious for your business, or no one in your industry uses social media. But if you search for social media-savvy role models in related industries, you might find a way in that makes sense for you.

It’s worth it to find communities that naturally draw you back. That’s about resonance, but also about feeling like you want to be there. There are things you can do not to feel out of place right from the start. Walking into a strange room is never fun. Get better at gauging how things work in a new-to-you corner of the internet. Be a considerate newcomer by reading any introductory material you can locate before posting like you know where you are.

It’s worth it to tweak and tweak your feeds and your filters to get people and media sources and companies scrolling past that delight and intrigue you. They’re out there, and there’s a good chance they and their wider communities are going to like meeting you.  Consider your feeds and newsletters as windows into worlds of people you might like to know better. Then commit to trying new sites or services, and adjusting notifications from them to suit your needs.

It’s worth it to keep showing up and keep digging into what you have to share. It’s worth it to keep pursuing your interests and keep engaging with people and accounts you enjoy.

But living this digital life, and bringing your new facility to connect with relevant people and information online demands something else. Risk. There’s risk.


That can be unsettling.  How can you afford to experiment (in public!) when you represent a business entity? How can you be vulnerable or uncertain as a professional?

When you stumble, when you make a mistake, you need to bounce back from it. Here’s some advice about recovering quickly from a social media flub.

I’ve talked a bit about this in a “becoming resilient in a sharing world” video for solopreneurs. I think we need to foster a new kind of personal resilience to showing up, peeking in, figuring out how things work, giving it a try, popping back in. Sharing something that we value, being vulnerable. Staying. Benefitting.

I’m going to delve more into the idea of vulnerability as a connective element in this weekly series. In the meantime, do you have something to add about online social networking’s value vs. risk proposition?

Photo by Anastasia Ashman

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Anastasia Ashman

Social Community Builder at Selfish, Inc.
Digital life trailblazer. Author/editor/producer agented by Foundry Literary & Media. Entrepreneur drawing on New York publishing & Hollywood entertainment industry experience with unique global dexterity from 14 years of international living. Connecting people through content and culture, empowering you around the web's new vulnerability, visibility and voice. Get my on-demand, self-paced GlobalNiche social web curriculum for free.

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