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Drowning in Social Media? - Just Breathe!

This post also appears on AngelaMaiers.com

Tweets, wikis, blogs, Nings, links, networks, ahhhh! I sometimes feel like I could drown in social media! This was the topic of our discussion on a recent turn of Steve Hardagon's Classroom 2.0 Live Show. Inspired by Merlin Man's Inbox Zero, an action-based mantra for managing email overload, I created a mantra to address the overwhelming and ever-changing nature of the social web. (Check out our full presentation here!) 

BREATHE is an acronym representing the Habitudes for creating, sustaining,and growing your personal learning networks. More importantly, BREATHE reminds us that social media is about people not tools. People breathe. Tools don't! 

Here's a bit more on BREATHE:

Build a Base Creating a base is about three things: the right people, the right tools, and the right habits. Do this, and you will not only stay afloat, you will soar to success.

  • Find your friends. There are literally hundreds of millions of people occupying this space.  The key to your success is finding people most relevant to you. Go slow, chose these friends and fans wisely as they will become your most important asset in this new world.
  • Chose three (3) tools that maximize your productivity and ensure you are getting what you need from the network.There are hundreds of tools, but when building your base, less is often more.
  • Finally, commit to three (3) actions; steps that you will repeat and sustain every day until they become action-based habits.

  • There is magic in the Base. 3 Friends, 3 Tools, 3 Actions

    Relationships  Social media is about the human connection not the media, tools or technologies. The time spent in each space is impacted and influenced by the kind of relationship we wish to foster. The relationships we hold most dear, require more deposits. You can't engage with everyone, so give your time, energy, and efforts to those who matter most.


    Extend   Success is not measured by the number of "friends" you are connected with or follow. Your success is determined by your follow-up. When you extend the conversation, you extend the reach, and strengthen the connections you make. Leaving comments on blogs, uploading images to Flickr, building a community on Twitter ...  whatever helps further
    the discussion illustrates your commitment to developing
    these online relationships. This is where the fun begins!

    Always learning This is essential. Be open to learning, unlearning, and re-learning. Those who enter this space as "experts" fail. The mindset of proficiency leaves us blind, deaf, and dumb. Self-proclaimed experts no longer feel the need to listen, question, and evolve. Self-proclaimed learners understand they will  never "get it" because "it" will always changes. Ask questions relentlessly, get comfortable with the grapple, and enjoy the challenge. Know that you are succeeding when you are always learning!

    Transparency  Sharing is the fundamental building block for building connections and networks; it may take many forms - a blog, a photo of the family vacation, a comment on a post. Each contribution leaves a piece of who you are, what you think, what you like, what you can offer. Your online personna are the sum total of these communication parts. 
    We live in an age where your presence can and will be discovered. Preparing for transparency is essential. Managing your online reputation ensures you always come across to others as you want to be presented. People want the authentic you.

    Have a Plan You’ve got all the tools, resources, and connections together, but do you have a plan-of-action? Having a plan, an engagement strategy, will help to determine how much time you can and should devote to your network. Having a plan is more important than finding the perfect plan. You will need to experiment, fail, and revise. Failure is free, so give yourself some wiggle room as you find a system that works best for your goals.

    Embrace! THIS IS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY important! (really). Jump! Yes, you heard me, take the plunge! It may be scary, it may feel overwhelming, it may even take your breath away, but you know you have the power to come up for air when you need it!  When you embrace the power of the web and the connections - I promise, the network will embrace you back! The feeling is exhilarating!

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