“What’s on your mind?” “What are you working on?” To me, these questions have an innately Orwellian tone. But as anyone remotely involved in social networking knows, these questions are immediately asked of us when we open our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, respectively.
Until recently, I answered them only sporadically. “How frivolous, I thought, and what a waste of time.” Now I realize how wrong I was.
It all started with a freak accident. A few weeks ago, a speeding bicyclist struck me as I got off a bus in Boston. Something (maybe the painkillers) made me think it would be a good idea to mention it on Facebook. That post led to a raft of well wishes (always nice when you’re feeling crappy). But one of them made me sit up and take notice – painful as that was.
It was from a client – one who has been slow to pay me lately. She wanted to see how I was doing, and this led to a conversation (on the phone!) about how the economy is affecting both our businesses. It was not an easy conversation to have, but she admitted that she has been behind in her payments because her own business has dropped off. She has been a very good client, and I told her not to worry – that I would do whatever I could to continue working with her.
So there; a delicate client issue was solved – and it started with me opening up on Facebook about something else entirely. This isn’t the first time I’ve benefited by answering these questions. Several months ago, I posted info on LinkedIn about a vigil one of my clients was organizing after the terrorist attack in Dubai. That attracted the attention of an Indian man who became interested in my business. Though we have not yet worked together, he is very much a prospect and we communicate regularly.
Now, I answer those “frivolous” questions daily. Just now on my Facebook page, I told Bea Arthur to rest in peace. Who knows? It may just lead a ravenous “Golden Girls” fan to look me up. And if not? Well, I really did love her. That’s another advantage of this “frivolity.” It really does give us insights into what people are thinking and feeling.
What do you think of these opening questions, and has answering them worked in your favor?
Alan Kravitz is a copy writer/editor/consultant who founded The Infinite Inkwell. Read his blog posts at http://www.infiniteinkwell.com/mylatestblogposts.html.