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So what does social media success and being a cat owner have in common? Simply put: Being a giver. Let me explain…

Unconditional Giving

“Dog owners are takers; cat owners are givers.” You might agree or disagree with that perception (or misperception), but I believe there is some truth to it even though it is not fair to cats. On the same token, being a giver implies that one is giving without any expectations of returns. You have to put yourself in the mentality of unconditional giving. Friends are supportive of each other by nature; that’s why we call it a friendship. I would like you to consider supporting total social media “strangers” – the strangers you do not regularly interact with or see any possible gain for supporting them.

Here are a few examples of how you can help others using social media:

- Support a small business Facebook page.

- Introduce and connect individuals with each other.

- Support a charitable campaign.

- Help someone find a job using LinkedIn.

- “Donate a tweet” via JustCoz organization.

- Use @givver to donate money to a good cause.

- If you live in St. Louis, pick a @Rallystl project you like and support it.

Collaboration vs Unconditional Giving

Collaboration is equally important in real life and in the “social media universe.” The more you connect and collaborate with other individuals, the more you increase your chances of being successful. However, collaboration is not the same as giving without expectation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, collaboration is, “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something.” Therefore, collaboration is a mutual agreement of support.  I highly recommend you collaborate with other individuals and support each other’s projects and goals. I consider collaboration as the next best thing after unconditional giving.

Pay it forward

The Arabic proverb goes, “Do a good deed and throw it in the sea”…meaning a good deed will eventually come back to the do-gooder. It doesn’t say “Do a good deed, throw it in the sea, and wait on the beach.” After all, you never know when and how helping someone will make you more successful. That person you helped find a job might someday recommend you for your dream job opportunity. That charity you supported has a board member who will connect you with your next business client. The two individuals you introduced to each other may someday introduce you to the company manager you’ve been trying to reach for years.

I’m proud to live in St. Louis. I’ve witnessed the generosity of St. Louisans in helping needy people, supporting a struggling small business, and just rallying behind a good cause. I believe we all want to help regardless of where we live, but we forget about others because of our busy and demanding daily schedules. Likewise, we all want to support others online, but the loud and sometimes chaotic social media world forces us to focus on a narrow interest, a small circle of friends, or just tune out completely. I challenge you to – every now and then – find a “stranger” in your community and make their day.

What if it doesn’t work, you ask?  At some point, one might feel that all the help, support, and love they are giving out is getting them nowhere in social media.  They constantly retweet, like, and endorse people, yet, they are not even getting a simple, “Thank you for the Retweet” on Twitter or a “like” on Facebook.  I agree with you. It doesn’t work in every case. We don’t live in a perfect world where everyone is giving and collaborating with each other. Otherwise, we would be living in a Utopia. Therefore, please allow me to give you two more suggestions if unconditional giving didn’t work for you: Find new social media connections or adopt a dog.

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Photo courtesy of Flicker User Charles B. 

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