“Social media saved my life”
Sree Sreenivasan’s life was wonderful. A satisfying work, professional colleagues, chief of an excellent team at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in one of the most beautiful cities in the world: New York. Everything was going well.
One day a phone call. «Sree you have to leave the MET». Game over.
Sree Sreenivasan picks up the phone. He opens Facebook. The question ‘what are you thinking about?’ popped up in his homepage. I think I need help, he tought. And that’s how it started.
Sreenivasan could not imagine that, from a simple post, hundreds of people would help him and he would get to where he is today: CEO & co-founder of Digimentors.group and Professor of digital innovation at Stony Brook University.
Who is Sree Sreenivasan?
For three days Sree Sreenivasan visits the editorial staff of Zeta for a series of lessons entirely focused on the world of social media and how to apply them to the world of journalism in the most functional way possible.
Sreenivasan is someone who can lead a class and read people. He enters the editorial office smiling, a backpack on one shoulder and a Korean shirt with floral doodles. He takes a quick glance at the class and immediately perceives the tiredness of the six hours spent behind a computer. He says «let’s get up and stretch». A totally different approach than Italian professors.
Sree interacts, accepts questions, makes jokes, but above all immediately creates a direct link with each of those present. «These are all my contacts: let’s network, let’s connect, let’s connect». A true master of personal and digital communication.
«There are two types of footprint: physical and digital. In this course we will try to learn how to make them interact effectively»
The ABC of social media is simple: Always Be Charging, Collecting, Connective. On social networks you need to be generous, present, constant to try and create a community. «Share the things you do with the people you care about the most: create a network in which you keep your friends updated on what you do», which can be a newsletter, a WhatsApp group or a blog.
«It is important to know how to conquer the scarce resource that exists today: people’s attention». An important piece of advice, sure, but even more instructive is what Sree does next: after quoting this sentence from journalist Leslie Frank Hinton in the Wall Street Journal he says: «Tweet him: tell him we’re here in Rome talking about him». Some students do it and immediately there is an answer, a tweet, a re-sharing: a bond. A practical example of the power of social media.
On socials you have to be simple «clear is the new cleaver» And you must also be visually strinking, curating your profile by specifying key information about yourself.
The dark side of social media
Being on social media and following these rules is not easy. It is even less so if you think about how much you are judged on social media. Many times, in the negative.
«Almost everything you post on social media will not be seen by other people … until you make a mistake». This unwritten law proves that the general media attention of people falls more easily on errors, typos, wrong phrases said at the wrong time. «A lady once wrote on Facebook: “I’m about to get on a plane to go to Africa. I hope I don’t get AIDS”. She turned off the phone and upon landing, after 14 hours of travel, she had lost his job: the post had reached the ears of her boss». Sree smiles, «Look at your posts / tweets through your boss’s eyes».
Furthermore, Sreenivasan confirms that the algorithm of social networks such as Facebook tend to give more space to the contents of hate speech and lead to great debate and discord. This is why it is important to have the skills to use social media in the most appropriate way
What now? «Log off and read a book!»