Becoming Human Again, For The First Time

We can all relate to overcompensating when we feel less than confident in any situation — too much cologne or perfume before the first date after a long period of being on the sidelines or circling a building a dozen times an hour before or even a day before a big interview or pitch.

In the midst of the preparation and approach, we lose touch with what got us there. In adapting to the competitive environment and comparing ourselves to those who are elbowing for the same opportunity, we lose touch with our unique humanness.

For many organizations and cause marketers who are just "keeping up with the Joneses" of social media, they tend to over-prepare and over-think their approach, in turn under-utilizing their effectiveness. It is easy to overly consume all of the “Top 10” and “How to” lists for social media and develop “analysis paralysis.”



It’s hard to be casual when you lack experience. Hyper-correcting and over-equipping is no different online with social media than it is offline. And, though social media has become second nature to some, many nonprofits and cause marketers find themselves figuring it out on the fly — and that can feel risky.

If you do find yourself hyper-correcting in social media or cause partnerships, take a timeout. Re-huddle and line up again with an authentic, humanized posture.

One of the first and most formative voices to champion a humanized social media state is Chris Brogan and his company Human Business Works. We may take for granted what being a “human business” is about and why it is important. It may even sound redundant to use the term. After all, businesses are collections of humans working toward a unified goal.

But Brogan isn’t referring to the physical characteristics of the contributors, rather the character of the collective. Businesses in all sectors have something in common — the need for increased human engagement and subsequent financial support.

We are all in the human business. And business is good.

Earlier this month at Social Media Week, the design-thinking gurus at Ideo launched a campaign called “Humanizing Social Media.” The purpose of the campaign is to “bring the “human back into social media” and explore the idea of “social connection in its most basic, human form, yet still within the context of today’s methods of communication.”

On a more granular level, authors Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter recently released a book, Humanize: How People-Centric Organizations Succeed in a Social World. In it, they explore how to “change your organization from the culture down to individual behavior in ways that make it more human — and more effective.”

No matter whatever platforms are invented next, we know that our personal and professional use of social media will continue to evolve. What remains the same from the time of cavemen to our wildest jetpack-era dreams is this: humans connect with humans.

Focus on that and the tools are interchangeable.

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