I am excited to announce that I have officially begun the first baby steps of social networking by setting up accounts on Linkedin and Facebook. For those who know me personally, you know that this was no easy task. It’s like standing at the edge of a lake. Many of you have encouraged me: “Come on in. The water is fine.” But I have been hesitant to stick my toe in.

I consider myself low-tech. Born in 1966, I was 16 when MTV debuted. I carried a Smith-Corona electric typewriter to college and didn’t get my first computer until 1997. When I turned in my black-and-green screen cell phone (and my $9.95 plan) in 2005, the young man who helped me mercifully did not laugh. I don’t like to text: I don’t own an IPod or a BlackBerry. I do love to Google and can answer questions in under a minute about what butterflies eat and why my side-by-side freezer is leaking. I prefer to write articles for my website on paper first, and I still carry a paper planner. I use technology when I need to or am required to, but I would rather wait for others to test the waters first.

I finally decided to wade into the waters of social networking at a recent NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Southern Nevada meeting. Kathy Malone (www.FrontLineTransitions.com) challenged us to promote our businesses using social media. That was the call I needed. I probably wouldn’t have begun the process for personal reasons, but I would try something new if it would help my business.

I told some NAWBO colleagues to look for me on Facebook and Linkedin to keep me accountable. I set aside two different chunks of time to set up my accounts. Linkedin was fairly easy and yielded positive results.

Facebook has taken longer and is still a work in process. I have managed to put up two pictures that are centered properly. I have added my business page but still get lost trying to get to it. During yoga class, I thought about different on-line groups to join. I actually had people waiting for me with invitations to be their friend when I joined. How encouraging is that? I did experience a moment of panic when I got a message that someone had written on my wall; I didn’t know I had a wall. At this point my profile is still not complete. With a three-year-old at home, I couldn’t remember any favorite movies or books. That’s okay; I’ll keep working on it. The water is fine, and I probably won’t drown.

How about you? What do you need to stick your toe in? What do you need to try for the first time or finally complete in order to move on?

Here are a few tips to help you wade in:

• Get educated. Talk to people who are where you want to be. Take a class. Hire a professional to assist and coach you.
• Set an attainable goal. I signed up for two sites and will work toward managing them before moving on to something like Twitter.
• Find encouragement and accountability. I told colleagues and a few friends to look for me. They have been very supportive.
• Make time. I made two appointments with myself to have uninterrupted time to get started. Good intentions alone won’t work. Set aside time or make an appointment with someone else to get it done.
• Have realistic expectations. My sites are not done, and I haven’t even begun to initiate conversations. But I will.
• Celebrate your accomplishments. Recognize and reward yourself for trying something new or completing something difficult. It’s okay to acknowledge small successes.

Take some time to stick that toe in the water. You’ll be glad you did.

? Renee Ursem, 2009

Author's Bio: 

Renee Ursem, Professional Organizer and Consultant, is the owner of Get It Together, LLC, offering clients in Las Vegas and surrounding areas simple, practical solutions to organizational challenges.
She can be reached at www.get-it-together-llc.com and is now on Facebook and Linkedin.