My kids are now 17 and 15. They are from a new world and generation of fear and freedom that my husband and I never experienced growing up.
As a Helicopter Mom, I have ”hovered” while my Stephanie and Danny attended birthday parties, school festivities, and sporting events. As they’ve gotten older, I’ve conveniently hovered over the computer to sneak a glance at their Facebook conversations. This has nothing to do with having a uterus. My husband has done the same. Just not as often, and in his own special way.
I’m happy to report this parental hovering has served me well in Social Media. Yes there is a connection. We observe. We listen and read. We watch patiently.
Here are five benefits that being a Helicopter Parent offers us in Social Media networking, such as LinkedIn questions, forums, and especially online chats.
1. Case the joint. No, the chat is not akin to Dragnet or Adam-12. I don’t recommend sneaking around corners and hiding in shrubbery (Yes, I did that when the kids were in pre-school; just checking that they weren’t playing alone in the sandbox). Call it lurking or call it listening. The key is to simply hang around before the chat gets underway. Most people don’t arrive “fashionably late”; they start assembling well before the content starts buzzing. Note to self: Identify a few movers and shakers.
2. Pay attention. Hover and watch as the conversations unfold. This gives you insight into personalities, style, and expertise. Note to self: Jot down names and handles of people you can follow-up with after the chat. Who would you like to eventually connect with offline?
3. Look for clues. If you pay close attention before jumping into conversations, you’ll notice who the naysayers and rebels are. Who are the stronger personalities that may clash with others? Do you want to engage with them during the chat or could it be an effort in futility? Some people know everything. That’s nice. Note to self: Avoid toxicity whenever possible.
4. Recognize the BFF’s. When you hover, you’ll notice those who have the friendly and long-time relationships. Look for history. Look for clues, like )), !!!!, OMG, and . Do you want to try and jump into these conversations and inside jokes with the Best Friends Forever? It could be awkward. Note to self: There are cliques of people everywhere. Enter at your own risk.
5. Watch their language. If your goal is to learn more about an ancillary or vertical niche that you’re not well-versed in, notice the lingo, acronyms, and industry jargon that’s being thrown around. Note to self: Do your homework. Read trade publications and subscribe to blogs and e-zines.
You can learn plenty from being a fly on the wall and hovering for 10 or 15 minutes. These tips lead to building rapport, interpersonal relationships, and business.
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(Photo Credit: Michael Ransburg)