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William is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is fascinated by research around how individuals construct and create their social realities, intrigued with the powers of creativity and innovation, and an avid proponent of outstanding service experiences. When not teaching, writing, or researching, he tries to spend time with his family and occasionally paint. He is currently completing his PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Purpose determines platform

I am a self-confessed 'active' user of social media.

I’m linked in on LinkedIn. My face is booked on Facebook. I was even able to get an early ‘plus’ during the Google+ beta launch last month. According to my analytics from TweetStats.com, I could possibly have a tweet-diction.

As a result, I find that I’m also having a lot of conversations about social media.

People seem curious about what I’m tweeting and why I’m tweeting so much. For me, it has mostly been about building relationships, having conversations and engaging with some very cool people. My enthusiasm about social media tends to seep through just a wee bit as I talk about what I call my ‘successes’: my conversations with top authors in the social media field, the recent invitations to guest blog on other sites, and especially about the day a wicked poster was hand delivered to my office simply because of a quick conversation (thanks @pirie and @kulapartners!).

From these conversations, some people have said that they would like to give social media a whirl. Lately, I’ve been trying to ask them one small question:


What is it that you want to accomplish through social media? Before you jump into any particular social media platform, take a few minutes to figure out why you want to be there, what you plan to accomplish, and how you plan on contributing. Your reasons, and the outcomes that flow from those reasons, will determine which platform would best suit your purposes.

Let’s take a look at a few scenarios:

  • If you are interested in connecting with people of similar interests, having conversations and perhaps building a community, Twitter is a great platform. I, for one, use Twitter a great deal and plan on having my students use it to engage with their industry community this fall.
  • Perhaps you would like to share video content – in this case, a YouTube account might be your platform of choice.
  • Are you interested in a more secure environment in which you can share longer posts, photos, links and other content behind some controlled filters? Facebook and Google+ are great platforms for this type of activity.
  • What about longer opinions pieces, thoughts or essays that others can read and response to? A blogging platform such as Wordpress or Blogger would be fantastic.
You see, ‘social media’ is a catch-all term; there are dozens of platforms at your fingertips that enable you to engage in various ways. Are you interested in collaborating, conversing, or capturing business? It’s in your best interest to explore as many of these platforms as you can, if only to increase your awareness of the available options. Before you commit to run down the social media highway, take a moment to figure out why you’re running.

Because, at the end of the day, your purpose will determine your platform.


  1. Very well accomplished Bill. It looks more like a blog of a more academically mature prof that and young one. It made think about if I want to use Linkedin, FB or something else, I have to think twice why? and ho can I also contribute to that social media. Thanks Salvador PhD candidate

  2. Thanks Salvador - I'm glad it gave you something to think about my friend =). Anytime you want to talk about SM, let me know.


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