During the 1930s, the late and great human relations expert, Dale Carnegie, wrote the following in his groundbreaking self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
The best-selling book, spanning several generations, is described on Amazon.com as, “rock-solid, time-tested advice [which] has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.” The revised version is said to “help you achieve your maximum potential throughout the next century!”
Carnegie articulated his profound principles on human relations more than half a century before the advent of social media. Nevertheless, some of his life lessons still hold true in today’s fast evolving mobile, digital and virtual high-tech world…
Carnegie articulated his profound principles on human relations more than half a century before the advent of social media. Nevertheless, some of his life lessons still hold true in today’s fast evolving mobile, digital and virtual high-tech world — and one important lesson is especially applicable to social media. This is significant as the global growth of social media continues to skyrocket, with hundreds of millions of people joining mega-platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
But what unique knowledge did Carnegie impart so long ago which also applies to online interaction in the modern 21st century Information Age? It’s worth noting that Carnegie’s books and Dale Carnegie Training are still popular among some Fortune 500 companies and other organizations worldwide. In fact, I meticulously read Carnegie’s books in college with a yellow highlighter and reviewed his principles often. His keen human relations and networking insights proved successful in helping me navigate my way in high-profile jobs at a young age (early 20s), including in the White House and Congress.
No “Me” in Social Media
Today, Carnegie would have likely pointed out there’s no “me” in social media. He probably would have said: It’s NOT ABOUT YOU! — it’s about everyone else! Moreover, I surmise he would have urged social media users to always be kind, polite and help others as a first resort. This, in turn, contributes to building one’s professional network and achieving social success.
While this might sound easy in theory, what does it mean in practice? The so-called conventional wisdom of “Social Media 101” is that you should be following, friending, connecting, retweeting, pinning, sharing, liking, commenting and promoting other people’s content at a much higher rate than your own. Dale Carnegie knew long ago that it’s essential to focus on the intricacies of human nature and social interactions on a very personal level to help get ahead. One of his mantras is to always understand and seriously consider the other person’s viewpoint, as well as your own. Then act accordingly. Don’t fall into the troubling trap of tunnel vision.
- “First, you must have a point of view, and durable influence derives from that point of view being authentically yours.”
- “Second, you have to seek out others and engage with them to lead the conversation.”
- “Third, you have to be willing to step in and share those opinions that you endorse.”
“One earns influence by thinking, leading and sharing.”
–Robin Fray Carey, CEO, Social Media Today
- “Social media influence is earned through connecting with the RIGHT people and sharing the RIGHT messages and engaging with the RIGHT people.”
- “You can have influence over a few people or thousands. The more niche you become, the more influence you can have on a specific topic. Helping people means adding value to their lives and work.”
“If you are sharing the right information then you are most likely helping someone in some way”
–Stephanie Frasco Clegg, VP, Convert with Content
It’s Engagement, Stupid
When I worked on Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign (way back when), famed campaign manager James Carville condensed the main message into a simple and oft-repeated phrase which was prominently posted at campaign HQ in Arkansas; “The economy, stupid!” Similarly, when it comes to social media, the same rule applies to building one’s network and being successful:
The engagement, stupid! Dale Carnegie enunciated the utmost importance of personal engagement by taking a genuine interest in the lives of others. He also wrote the following timeless words of wisdom which apply to social media today:
- “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
- “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
- “People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves — morning, noon and after dinner.”
Carnegie understood that the real magic in human relations can be boiled down to the overriding premise: help me help you! This is the same today whether it regards face to face negotiations, networking or via social media interaction. If Carnegie were alive today, he probably would have repeated this priceless principle about social media success ad nauseam: help me help YOU, not the other way around.
Additionally, studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that when someone helps you professionally once or twice, they may develop an internal commitment to your success because they become somewhat vested in it – perhaps even on a subconscious level. Therefore, if you want to obtain more social media success, then keep in mind some of the timeless advice preached by the late, great Dale Carnegie. Remember: it’s not about YOU!