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Shortest list ever: The top 1 reason to use social media

Posted By: Bill Sheridan on January 24, 2009 in Technology & Social Media

Connect Saturdays at CPA Success are usually spent reviewing online tools that can help increase our productivity. Keep in mind that we do not endorse any of these services. We simply offer them up for your consideration. Do your own homework and find the service that best meets your needs.

Everyone has a list these days.

If you do a lot of reading online, you've seen them. Top 10 Amazing Chemistry Videos. Top 20 Most Affordable Cities in the U.S. 10 Things You Shouldn't Buy New. Top 10 Weirdest Food Halloween Costumes. The 20 Worst Foods in America. There's a list for everything out there.

Let's face it: Everyone loves a good list. We've even been known to publish a list here from time to time to time.

Even so, the number of social media lists popping up today is astounding. Everyone wants to share what they've learned on the Web 2.0 playground, so we're getting a lot of lists like these:

And that's just the beginning. You can't open your RSS reader without seeing another two or three of them.

I'm not complaining, mind you. There's plenty of great advice and inspired insight in each of these lists.

But you don't need 10 or 20 or 50 reasons to figure out why you should be paying attention to social media. You just need one word -- relationships.

Social media is all about relationships. It's about making meaningful connections with like-minded people who provide the advice, resources, information and constructive criticism that enrich our professional lives.

In his acclaimed book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the importance of "connectors." These are people who have "a special gift for bringing the world together," writes Gladwell. They're the hyper-connected folks who make it possible for the "six degrees of separation" concept to work. They know huge numbers of people and make it possible for us to know huge numbers of people, too.

That's what social media tools are. They're the connectors that open up the world to us.

I've met bloggers and finance folks throughout the world on Twitter, and each of them has a unique perspective on the topics of the day. I've reconnected with long-lost friends on Facebook, and it's almost as if we've never been apart. I've asked for and received advice from the people who make up my professional Rolodex on LinkedIn.

None of that would have been possible without social media.

And what's all that knowledge worth? What's the ROI on having a world's worth of information at your fingertips? Can you even put a pricetag on it? I don't think so.

The most concise social media list around is one item long: Relationships. That's the only reason you'll ever need to use these tools.

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