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The joy of thanks and the benefits it brings

Today was an interesting day for me. It culminated in four people recommending me on twitter for providing them with a small amount of knowledge in relation to something they had a problem with or were working on. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise particularly as they all recommended me at almost the same time simply because I helped them out in a small way.

It really brought home to me what a wonderful thing social media can be. It is instantaneous and reactions flow freely, sometimes they are positive and sometimes negative. People who use social media in a positive way stand to benefit massively, and I think the benefit works in different ways. Obviously the recipient of a recommendation or thanks feels appreciated and you do get a glow from helping someone. Equally the person providing the recommendation feels good about making a positive recommendation about someone who has added value to their day. Both parties end up with a small enhancement to their online reputation because one is recognised as a contributor and the other is seen to publish a genuine recommendation. When that happens it’s very powerful.

For example it goes beyond the realms of #FollowFriday recommendations. It is not enough just to list people as #ff you need to give a reason for doing so, to add value both to the individual you are recommending and to yourself. I rarely do #FollowFridays but when I do them I do one per tweet and I give a clear reason why I’m recommending the individual, that’s what we do in real conversation isn’t it?

Consider how a #FollowFriday or #ff could play out in the physical world. The two physical equivalents of the myriad of #ff that we see could be

A: To go and stand in the middle of the road, like a town crier and yell “Follow Friday” at the top of your voice and then proceed to list the names of your top 20 twitter friends. Will anyone notice? perhaps not, other than to think you are a little odd. Will they whip a notebook and write down the names you’ve called out? I doubt it :-)

Or

B: You you could be at some social gathering or networking event in conversation with different people, at some point you are guaranteed to recommend someone you know who is good at something that might benefit one of the people you are talking to. Will they take listen and take note? I think so.

Which of the two approaches is more valuable?

I think B is more valuable, its personal, its well qualified and it is genuinely delivered. The beauty of it is that if you apply this approach properly it in the Twitter world lots of people will see it and possibly benefit from it as you may unwittingly provide them with some help. In turn both of your online reputations will certainly benefit from this as described above. In the physical world the people immediately impacted by the recommendation will benefit and word might spread some way but there is a time lag and the reach of the recommendation is short. Online it’s a different story, the spread of a good recommendation is instant and that potentially has more impact, it might not last as long but it will be visible to more people in a short time.

So readers perhaps you can think about how you recommend someone and give a clear reason, after all you want them to benefit, don’t you? If so it’s worth doing well and you will also be seen in a positive light.

So thanks to @hr_katherine @AnnHawkins @Lindsay_Abbott and @arillustrate for their kind words today and as a result being the inspiration for this post :-)

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