The One Social Media Channel You Can’t Live Without

An afternoon a few weeks ago, I took a drive from Chicago down to a hotel in East Peoria, for the monthly meeting of the central Illinois chapter of the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).

I was asked to speak on the topic “Effective Media Relations in a Social Media World.” I’ve never worked in PR, so my aim was not to tell these pros how to do their jobs — but to speak to the many ways social media has upended traditional media and marketing.

We won’t delve into my talk in this post — instead I share another interesting part of the program.

What’s your go-to social media platform?

As we started dinner, the chapter president suggested that each table discuss this scenario: If you lived on a desert island and had access to just one social media channel, what would yours be?

There was groaning and eye-rolling — like the feeling you have at a baby shower when the host makes you play a ‘name the baby’ game when you’d rather just sip an alcoholic cocktail –

I think to everyone’s surprise, though, it wound up being a rather telling exercise. The answers were all over the map.

At our table, Twitter was the platform the PR folks were most reluctant to do without, but LinkedIn got a vote too.

There were two tables of college students — one voted for Instagram — the other for Facebook.

And while my own vote went to Twitter, I started having second thoughts. If forced to choose, I would probably miss LinkedIn more.


LinkedIn is a civilized social place:

— Anyone who posts an over-the-top political story is practically shouted down. Users guard against political bashing (either side) with fervor.

— You don’t have to worry about a close encounter with UFO’s or other ‘fake news.’

— Commenting is respectful and gracious. Disagreements are presented without name calling.

— Ego is mostly in check. There’s professional bragging, but selfies are rare.

So why is this?

LinkedIn was created as a platform to connect people *who already know one another.* I’ve met all 1,636 people in my network — and that’s worth gold. In fact, I get really annoyed when someone I don’t know sends me an invite.

Good behavior rules on LinkedIn because the consequences of bad behavior are high.

It used to be that the only time most people went on LinkedIn was when they were looking for a job. That’s changed. Let’s just hope LinkedIn stays true to its roots under the new bosses at Microsoft.

So there are two morals to this story from my drive to East Peoria:

— Having a mission and sticking to it is good for business
— Always get the chicken over beef at a hotel banquet

And for customized tips on how *you* can crush social media, take a cue from some of the prominent personal brands over all the U.S.

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