Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Taking a cue from the ancient Chinese wisdom, teaching is a sustainable way to pass on knowledge. Of course, we can only teach, when we know the topic well enough ourselves. The knowledge that comes with not just studying a topic but one that is enriched with personal experiences, victories and failures alike. For the learners, there’s really nothing like lessons from real-life experiences of people who have reached the top in their fields. It’s important and fulfilling to say the least. To learn from just about any leader, from any part of the world, on any topic of your choice wasn’t a possibility, a decade ago.
With the advent of social media, this possibility is an open sesame to the world of endless learning.
It is noted that students and professionals are always online learning and gathering information from social media. I personally read an average of five articles from experts, leading in their fields, right from communications, leadership, team building, self-development, self-care, entrepreneurship, on a daily basis. It’s like hearing from the horse’s mouth. The authentic experiences from some of the experts and leaders are not only inspiring but also practical and humane. The fact that a leader / expert is able to reach out to the masses and share their knowledge rather than just to a captive, well-known audience is enough reason why social media is important for all leaders.
So let’s start with the reason Numero Uno:
To share: With social media, you share your story of success or a failure and your experiences and expertise to a mass of people who could actually relate to it or learn from it. There will always be people going through similar challenges and circumstances, not just in your neighborhood, but in some other corner of the world, who could make use of your knowledge and wisdom. A little commitment and time to share goes a long way in helping people out. So if you know something well, pass it on, on social media. Crowd-sharing knowledge is a simple act of social responsibility.
Reason Numero Deux
To learn: Some of the greatest leaders are always a student. In teaching others, we teach ourselves. When you share your learning, you consciously walk the talk and end up learning more. The great thing about social media is you get immediate feedback and various perspectives from others too, and in return, learn more. It’s humbling.
Reason Numero Trois
To listen: Social listening has become very important for leaders. A modern form of keeping your ear to the ground. It allows you to understand new trends. Twitter, for instance, is an ambient tool. You have people from all across the business. Right from politicians, journalists, celebrities, entrepreneurs, influencers and most importantly, the public! It quickly allows an overview on what’s going on in the world. It can be used as a tool for lead generation too. And definitely one for feedback.
In an interview with Quartz India, Chairman of Mahindra group, Anand Mahindra (and a popular face on Twitter when asked about his one productivity hack, answered the question thus:
“Twitter is my cockpit. When you have a federation like ours, with a number of companies and a massive geographical spread, it is almost impossible to figure out what is going on where. I am not on Twitter because I am lonely. I have a very nice life and I am very happy. This is not Tinder for me. I am on Twitter because this is a business tool. Any CEO who is not on it is probably ignorant.”
That’s a great lesson on social learning, read more here
When guiding social media usage to leaders, I always show the ‘search’ feature on Twitter, which shows the latest trending hashtag, and with just a scroll, you know exactly what’s happening in the world. It is, for me, magical information science.
In an interview with CNBC here, the billionaire and founder of Virgin, Richard Branson said, “I love logging onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram every day … Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say — it’s a wonderful thing.”
Richard Branson uses social media to engage with his audience by sharing stories, campaigning for sustainable practices and boosting his employees by talking about them. I read his autobiography, ‘Losing my virginity’ when it was released in 2002, and I really think he is a true brand champion and a leader who exactly knows where it’s at. And like a boss he takes his brand where the conversation is happening – to the social media, giving us reason quatre for leaders to be on social media!