Sharing a perspective from a fellow Delta. Folks need to get shaken up!
One of the most powerful messages I got last week was from KERA’s Think program. The exchange begins around minute 39 of this podcast, when guest Ben Hewitt said:
I hear a lot from people, what can I do to strengthen community in my area. One of the things that I think is really profoundly effective is to ask somebody for help. And the reason it’s so effective, I want you to think about the last time you offered help to somebody and what they probably said, which I’m guessing was ‘Oh no, I’m all set, thank you very much.’ I also want you to think about the last time somebody came to you and asked you for help, and how it made you feel. Which I’m guessing was pretty good.
Hewitt continued, saying that on an innately human level, we have a need to be needed. As I listened, all I could do was nod to myself because I’ve seen the effect that asking for help and offering help can have on a relationship. When I realized that it was time for me to make a change, I knew I would have to tap my network. The thought of asking for assistance set my teeth on edge; it felt like I was essentially going forth naked and begging in the world, without a cloak for shielding my need.
I took it slow, sending a message to a longtime friend and sometime collaborator. As I hit send, I said a silent prayer that he wouldn’t recoil from the screen and feel insulted by my request (which was, in hindsight, truly very simple). Almost immediately, my message received a reply of support and agreement to assist where possible. Now, I’m not a huge crier, but the sense of relief was so strong that I let out a few watery drops.
Since that moment, I’ve made other requests from business associates and college friends alike, and I’ve never run into anyone who isn’t flattered and ready to offer help where they can. Instead of feeling putting upon, which is the reaction I expected initially, people were eager to assist, whether through an email introduction, recommendation and reference or just feedback to make sure I wasn’t going into left field with my ideas. As these favors have grown, I’ve made an effort to balance my requests with offers of assistance. Ben Hewitt is right, it is a pretty good feeling to help.
Oh, and since I talked book recommendations in my last post, Ben Hewitt is the author of Saved: How I quit worrying about money and became the richest guy in the world. It is most definitely on the must-read list!
Comment time: do you find yourself asking for help? If not, what holds you back? How does helping others make you feel?
I realized today, as I backed up from my local library branch, that I had an adrenaline rush that was likely akin to what shopaholics feel when they leave the mall. Slightly flushed and smiling to myself, I looked over at the short stack of books I checked out and imagined the perfect silence in which I wanted to read them, curled up on the couch with the sunlight spilling through the living room window behind me. Ever since I finally figured out how to use the online request system for Dallas Public Library, I’ve been tagging books and eagerly awaiting their arrival at the nearby branch.
Much like a overly enthusiastic shopper, I also like to share my finds with the world. As an effort to share with the audience outside of my Instagram and Twitter followers, I’m going to begin posting photos of my loaned treasures on here.
I’d love to hear what you’re reading as well, since word-of-mouth is often how I discover new writers. Well, word-of-mouth and my sister who truly will one day bury herself, Hoarders-style, in her living room with the amount of books she has.
As you may well have heard, everyone’s favorite social networks, Twitter and Facebook, both rolled out some new features this week.
Facebook’s addition was long-overdue: the ability to use a hashtag that is actually searchable. I say this because, despite the fact that people knew that their use of the hashtag did nothing on Facebook, they insisted on using it in their status updates. I truly considered defriending people for this, no lie. Well, those folks can now call themselves forward thinkers. According to the company (via Mashable), they want to make it easier for users to “find information.” Considering that Facebook has consistently lost young users to sites like Twitter and Instagram in the recent years, maybe the company thinks this will shore up their interest. Best of luck with that Facebook. More than likely, I will not engage with Facebook hashtags because they have been synonymous with Twitter for so long. For me and others like me, this may cause some cognitive dissonance. Hopefully the FB team has thought of this and plans to address it by showing the value it brings to the user experience.
Speaking of Twitter, the company is trying to get more individual users to analyze their reach by making basic stats available for accounts. I’ve used Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, both of which give users an overview of their traffic. I found the analytic page straightforward, and I imagine small business owners who don’t want to invest in tracking software will be satisfied with the information as a starting point. Of course, social networks don’t create new features from the goodwill of their heart. The link to your analytics is under the page to sign up for Twitter ads, encouraging users to associate their analytics and buying advertisements. Smart move, and it’s likely some bloggers and online personalities will find value in this. For small fish like me, I’ll keep my coins.
What do these changes mean for your business? Will you add Twitter analytics to your social media measurement, much like checking your Klout score? How do you (or your business) plan to use Facebook hashtags?
image via Satyrika on Flickr