Try a little online kindness, it may be contagious

Last week I had the opportunity to hear a number of excellent speakers at several venues. Some were accomplished public speakers who probably have many paid engagements each year. Others were less rehearsed but still quite good. The one that stands out the most, though, was Kevin Fawley of SoMeGo, the luncheon speaker at last Thursday’s Independent Public Relations Alliance meeting in Tysons Corner.

Kevin made an impression because he was, well, different. Speakers at networking functions and professional workshops usually fit a fairly predictable mold. They’re experts in their field, technically proficient, well-connected, but often what they say doesn’t go much beyond a list of how-to’s or sharing examples of what they’ve done for clients. A couple of weeks go by, and you are hard-pressed to remember much of anything they said.

I have to give Kevin credit for shaking things up. Maybe it was his youth (26 years old, according to his blog, Fearless Hustle), his blunt language or the fact that he wore jeans and a polo shirt when the rest of us were suited up, but I really think it was his passion and raw energy combined with a simple, but compelling message.

He wasn’t the most eloquent or polished speaker I heard last week, but that didn’t prevent him from making his main point crystal clear.

Okay, so what was his point?

Gee, I thought you’d never ask. Well, guess what, it was actually quite simple: “Care about people!” More specifically, care about people in the context of social media.

I wrote about Kevin’s presentation in the Capitol Communicator, so I won’t go into all the details. But I will say that for the first time, I started to “get” the purpose of social media. Like so many others, I’ve been using it mostly as just another outbound communications channel. Sure, social media is supposed to be interactive, but how often is it really used that way?

Kevin made me realize that having people comment on my blog can be just as important as my writing it. That replying to every comment is important, and that I should care about other people blogging out there, too. Hate to say it, but it kind of reminded me of when I was a kid and I had to write my thank-you notes after birthdays and Christmas. Somewhere along the way, we’ve fallen away from those simple courtesies. Kevin reminded us that they matter.

Another reason I liked Kevin’s talk is that he took the time to read my blog before his presentation (actually, he looked at all the websites of those who pre-registered); he replied to my tweets about the meeting; and he posted a very nice comment on the Capitol Communicator website about my write-up.

Now that’s practicing what you preach!

A little caring can go a long way, and it is contagious. This past week, I was pleased to see that two other bloggers had linked to my post on Susan Cain’s new book on introverts. I took the time to visit their blogs, “like” their posts and write each of them a nice comment. I even looked up their Twitter names and tweeted them a thank you. Kevin, you’d be proud—it was social media in action.

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2 Responses to Try a little online kindness, it may be contagious

  1. Jeff Ghannam says:

    Nice post, Jay. (Get it.) Social media aside, from a speaker’s perspective, Kevin was not afraid to be himself and to be genuine in his views. Sometimes as speakers, we present as we think we should present rather than from the heart and in a passionate manner.

    I bet you are not the only one who will remember that presentation for a while.

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