“You’re part of the social scene, but who are you?” | Ryan Dempsey, TCW

“You’re part of the social scene, but who are you?” | Ryan Dempsey, TCW

Ryan Dempsey, CEO of TCW, looks at the pros and cons of social media adoption and challenges readers to identify which personality category they fall into.

The world as we know it is gradually evolving into a place that has nowhere to hide or gather your thoughts. This age of technology-enabled services is fast paced now and social media is helping to keep individuals informed and updated instantly about what is happening in the world around them. Additionally, it can also play a big part in their happiness (or lack of it) and overall wellbeing.

When I first entered the electrical industry (a few years ago now), I remember being stood in a house on my own, wiring a kitchen and a new consumer unit and having zero concerns that the outside world would ever see my workmanship. I’m sure it’s something that wouldn’t have ultimately bothered me, but the thought was never there.

Now, there’s that thought at the back of your mind that says: “Someone could post a picture of this on social media, I must make it look nice and ensure it’s correct.”

Social media adoption has some really strong benefits to it, but one of the downsides is that it has given the world the ability to negatively impact an individual’s business and personal life. The level of critique we used to experience is now a thousand times greater.

There are now many different types of social media platforms that people can use positively to promote who they are and what they do. My personal preference (at the moment) is Instagram but only because I have my own account ‘locked’ so that family and close friends have access. It’s not a ‘waffle’ platform but more a visual one.

Even though we have multiple platforms from which to choose, some statistics and profiling has been done to show how people interact with social media; this is universal and can be attributed to any platform. The favourite bit research that I’ve read up on is in relation to the ’10 types of social media users’, which I’ll summarise for you below.

If you use social media in your daily life, a fun challenge is to write the name of an individual who falls into each of the category types.

The Listener
This person flies under the radar and very rarely interacts with ‘likes’ or ‘shares’. They’ll rarely/never post content, but you still know they’re there.

The Activist
They understand the reach of social media and strive to have their voice heard to make a difference.

The Spammer
This person constantly posts and will likely believe that their content is quality and that sending multiple messages regularly is the ‘cool’ thing to do.

The Passionista
These users are very passionate and like to share their views on things that they believe in. These people don’t force their opinions on you, but they have views that in most cases you agree with.

The Social Butterfly
These users are the type that will post pictures with people you know and can make the world seem smaller than it is. If you want to see how popular these users are, simply click the ‘media’ button on their profile.

The Troll
This user type will post unpleasant content and portray a view that everyone has an opinion, yet they’ll insult and generally throw the gauntlet down when folk oppose theirs. The best way to deal with this type of user is to simply block or remove. Beware though, they’ll still try to find you.

The Influencer
A very small percentage of users would fall into this profile category. They create high-quality content and are happy to share their knowledge with everyone. They’re passionate about what they do and its obvious there are motivated by seeing others succeed.

The Early Adopter
These individuals are the type who’ve been on social media before everyone else. They had a Facebook profile first or were one of the first to embrace Instagram. In my experience, they also love to remind folk of this.

The Black Booker
This one is a more interesting category, as the individual will use the platform to connect themselves with others to improve their business prospects or personal wellbeing. There’s no malice here, just a need to connect with people and interact positively.

The Family Person
Literally this user is only here because it gives them a way to better connect with their family (in different parts of the country or world) than they ever thought was possible.

Understanding what type of user you are, and the different personalities that you aim to connect and interact with on social media, can really help to grow your horizons and ensure you’re engaging with the right people in the appropriate manner.

We can use social media to promote what we do and target great content to wider audiences. Many manufacturers utilise social media daily and they should form part of your following so you can ‘tag’ them in on posts. Very often they’ll share the message to their crowd of followers, which is known as ‘synergy’ or ‘sharpening the sword’.

One of the problems that seems to be quite specific to our electrical industry is the issue around opinions, or as some like to call it: ‘engineering judgement’. What we have to accept here is that people’s levels of experience are different and the things they’ve seen and learnt mean the decisions they make are focussed around THEIR experience, NOT YOURS. It definitely feels like a lot more time is wasted on the argument rather than understanding the reasons for the debate.

Let me give you an example I’ve seen recently:

Spark 1: “I bond everything because that’s what I was trained to do. EEBADS and all that mate.”

Spark 2: “You’re wrong, you need to understand that in the new world of electrics, bonding extraneous parts of the installation may cause issues when ‘prosumer’ installations come around. So EEBADS isn’t safe in every situation.”

When I read this conversation, the first thought in my head was all about Spark 1 and the potential customers he/she has worked for over the years who may see this. Spark 2 has (whether deliberately or not) instilled a question mark over Spark 1’s competence for no other reason than to show Spark 2 is better/more intelligent than Spark 1. Sometimes having an understanding of and showing compassion towards an individual’s level of skill, experience and knowledge can help both people to grow.

For example, here’s how the conversation could’ve gone instead:

Spark 1: “I bond everything because that’s what I was trained to do. EEBADS and all that mate.”

Spark 2: “Ah mate, EEBADS is great (now ADS) and definitely provided the level of safety we’ve looked to offer for years. It might, however, be worth reading up on ‘prosumers’ and self-generated power in domestic dwellings, which is soon to come into force. In the near future, bonding is going to need more thought.”

As you can see, a subtle change in the wording of the response can make a big difference.

We’re fortunate to have a mass of great content available to us all in the electrical now and we’ve started seeing some of the leading organisations and bodies interacting more with the outside world. Through social media, we have an amazing opportunity to grow ourselves and our businesses. You should, however, always remember to use it responsibly and to never forget that your words and actions can impact an individual in a far greater way than you ever imagined.

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