With my compliments

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Have you complimented someone today? This week? This month?

It’s amazing what a few words of support and kindness can do for someone who feels like he or she is uncertain or struggling to accomplish specific goals or develop certain skills.

And those kind words are particularly important when they come from someone who is in a position of authority in that subject.

I am an amateur photographer; a good one, in my own opinion. And I am eternally grateful for and happy to hear friends and loved ones tell me when they like a particular photo or group of images.

But recently, I have received some very kind comments from other photographers, whose work impresses the hell out of me, and who, in a few cases, don’t know me beyond what they have seen of my work on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.

Earlier today, someone I did not know stopped by my Instagram account to comment on an image I posted recently.

Simply wonderful! You got what it takes for a good photographer!

I immediately jumped over to his account and realized that I was being complimented by someone who I believe has amazing talent. This is someone making a career as a professional photographer.

I have likewise built a nice friendship with one of the official photographers for my beloved Toronto Marlies; a man who will periodically compliment me on a particularly good shot. I have told him as much, but I’m not sure he believes how much his kind words and encouragement mean to me.

When someone does well, I like to let them know I think so. I think my compliments are most powerful, however, when they related to writing; my particular strength.

What is your area of expertise or authority?

When was the last time you took a moment to tell someone further down the development chain that he or she had done a really good job on something or that you found his or her work impressive?

Trust me; it will make their day to hear that.

And if you are already spreading encouragement and passion, thank you for that. We need to make sure this spreads.

sunset

You never know what people will like…so don’t try to anticipate; just create

Engage me, don’t yell at me

While on LinkedIn earlier today, an acquaintance posted the following image that has been circulating lately; an image humourously designed to explain social media.

Look at me!

Look at me!

What this also highlights, however, is our complete lack of understanding when it comes to social media…that it has to be social.

Well, it doesn’t have to be social. Plenty of examples on the Internet (probably some written by me) where an individual or company has used social media to scream out their own message, not bothering to wait for a response or worried whether they are engaging the individuals on the other end. Just one giant game of: Look at me! Aren’t I clever? Love me!

Again, I recognize my own culpability in this. I too can be accused of approaching social media like a dog barking at a window, with little or no concern about those at whom I am barking. I do my best to have a point and always enjoy engagement.

Social media should be about engaging and building a community of which you and I are just one member. It should be more about listening than talking. It’s about starting a conversation, not a speech.

Thus, I offer the following revision of the white board presentation above.

Look at us!

Look at us!

In social media, everyone can hear you scream…but how many of us are listening to what you are screaming?

(Of course, this could all be high-handed holier-than-thou BS…in which case, I expect you to hold me to account. Go ahead, prove me right!)