By Gregory Pings

“Social media is about sociology and psychology, more than technology.”

For that insight, I thank Varghese Mathew, an accounting associate at a Xerox services center in Kochi, India. He admits that these aren’t his words. (In fact, they’re attributed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.) I asked Varghese how this awareness changed the way he uses social media.

“I like listening to people of all kinds, to watch their reactions to different situations in life, and social media is an excellent platform to bring out all the emotions, ideas and innovations to an open stage where it’s discussed among millions across the globe,” Varghese wrote on Yammer, our internal social media platform. “So, to me the whole point of these social media is: Listen to Learn.”

"I'll always prefer to call or see someone to make that conversation that much more personal.” -- Judy Burgeson

“I’ll always prefer to call or see someone to make that conversation that much more personal.” — Judy Burgeson

For all the chatter on all the channels, people like Varghese will never lack for a learning experience. And wasn’t that the point of social media? Of course, as Varghese demonstrated, now and again you get out of listen mode so that you can join the conversation and share what you have learned.

On this fifth Social Media Day, here is what some Xerox people say about how they use social media, and their thoughts on social media’s place in our societies.

  • “Incredibly useful and an incredible waste of time. Pick and choose. Set limits. Don’t try to follow everyone. I bought a Cross fountain pen for my birthday, for the important communications.” (Steve Tryon, Quality Assurance Engineer, Webster, N.Y. Also an avid amateur photographer who publishes online.)
  • “When using social for business, think less about selling and more about engaging. Consider what your audience wants to hear and how you can be useful to them, rather than the specific product or service you’re trying to promote.” (Falynne Finagan, Social Marketing Manager, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • “You wouldn’t call your client with 10 different insights in one week so don’t post 10 different insights or articles in one week. Try to keep it down to 1 or 2 and keep them related.” (Vincent Riccio, Region Sales Manager, New York City)
  • “Be conscious of how you portray yourself on social media. Very little content, if any, is truly private.” (Jim Mignano, Social Marketing Coordinator, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • “Recently I suggested to my brother that my nephew (19 years old) might like a special pen for his birthday. I remember my horror when I was told he never used one. I realize this is just change, and change is by its nature never permanent. One medium (e.g. the telegraph) is just supplanted in popularity by another.” (Keith Turner, Business Systems Analyst, Uxbridge, U.K.)
  •  “Social media is no different than a phone call or email, just a different way to relay and receive a message.” (Kyle Denhoff, Social Media Manager, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • “Social media is a distraction. However, I joined Yammer because I believe it to be a good place to network within the company. I am goal oriented and figured I could have access to credible sources with significant outlets.” (Shamika Bell, Medical Service Associate, Houston)
  • “When using social for business, think less about selling and more about engaging.” -- Falynne Finagan

    “When using social for business, think less about selling and more about engaging.” — Falynne Finagan

    “Call me a changed woman, because now I’m a huge advocate of social media. Through my gradual acclimation to various platforms I’ve made new contacts and friends, learned about things I never would have otherwise, received comfort and support from unexpected people, and just generally been able to feel more connected to the greater world.” (Kat Fischer, IT Service Delivery Manager, Rochester, N.Y.)

  • “Social Media is really an anti-social medium. People of all ages can be affected as they sit glued to a screen when presented face-to-face with other people. I am on Facebook, and I will email, but I’ll always prefer to call or see someone to make that conversation that much more personal.” (Judy Burgeson, Inventory Control Coordinator, Webster, N.Y.)

In the interest of space, these comments do not represent the universe of what Xerox people (or anyone else) think about social media. Fortunately, the actual universe of social media is a place that is broad, with unlimited space. (So far as we know.)

I look forward to a lively discussion among our readers and their social friends.