No one cares what you had for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. This is the mantra we hear from those who are opposed to social networking or those who disagree with using these services for personal reasons. While I agree that using Twitter, Facebook, or blogs strictly to announce what you are eating or where you are isn’t compelling, but I don’t agree that no one wants to hear what is going on in your personal life.
My favorite people to follow on Twitter aren’t the ones that just talk business; they are the ones that give you a little window into their lives (their entire lives). When I follow a celebrity, I don’t just want to know about their next album, TV show, or movie. I want to know that they are out at their favorite restaurant so maybe I can check it out when I am in town. I want to know when their best friend in the world is coming to visit. I also want to know when they are going to be on TV promoting their latest project. Seeing all of these aspects of their lives lets us know that they are doing the updating and it isn’t some intern back at the production company.
Alyssa Milano (@allysa_milano on Twitter) is one of my favorite social media personalities. You will remember that she is childhood star of Who’s The Boss and is more recently known for her role in Charmed. Now she is self-proclaimed geek so she may not be the perfect example, but she is a great example of how anyone can mix his or her business and personal lives online. When her new show, Romatically Challenged, was in production, she was out there promoting it constantly on Twitter. When it was canceled, she was one of the first people to retweet the news. She seamlessly blends talking about her favorite causes, what movies she likes, and her current acting roles.
FourSquare and Gowalla is further proof that people do, in fact, care what you are up to. These location based social networks are used only for telling your friends where you are (and what you are eating). Granted, these services aren’t for everyone…
Just remember that every update on Facebook or every Tweet on Twitter doesn’t have to resonate with every one of your followers. Not everyone follows you for the same reasons. Some may be business contacts, some may be friends or family, and some may know nothing about you. As long as your content is interesting to someone that follows you, you are adding value. This is the whole purpose of social networking.