Everything I Know About Social Media I Learned from My Favorite Songs


Most of the posts here are related to science or biotechnology in some way. We’ll take a bit of a detour here to discuss how songs can be used to understand social media. For someone like me, who thinks about it a lot, it’s easy to see the similarities. I hope you’ll start to see that ‘everything old is new’ and that social media is a natural progression of our culture, involving many of the same ideals and etiquette we are familiar with. Each song title is linked to a version you can play on blip.fm, enjoy!

  1. The End by The Beatles
  2. This song sums up social media (SM) very well–the famous line from it is “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make.” As we’ve discussed earlier, it’s all about paying it forward. You need to enter into SM with the goal of giving back first. Only then will you begin to see that others will gladly return the favor. Unlike the song, however, sometimes I feel as though I may get back more than I put in, if that’s possible! The Beatles taught us a lot about life and it’s not surprising their songs ring true for SM.

  3. With a Little Help from My Friends by the Beatles
  4. SM is all about using the power of the community, also known as crowdsourcing. Have a question? Send it ‘out there’ and you’ll be amazed at how quickly it can be answered. Wondering what your colleagues in a particular area think about a topic? Poll them–places like FriendFeed science groups are a good place to start. You’ll also start to identify experts in certain areas, or ‘channels‘, who will help you to understand the wealth of information we are all trying to sort through these days.

  5. Respect by Aretha Franklin
  6. Now that everyone can easily self-publish, how do you know who and what information to trust? It’s all about an author’s ability to garner R-E-S-P-E-C-T. To achieve this, you must consistently provide valuable and credible information to your peers, and be careful not to abuse relationships or be a bad citizen. Sound hard? On the bright side, respect can be contagious–if you receive it from your inner circle, it will be evident to others. Don’t be afraid to put a little flair on your blog to show your standing in the community. People appreciate cues to help them learn who to respect. In the words of Aretha, it’s a way to “find out what it means to me.”

  7. What Have You Done for Me Lately by Janet Jackson
  8. This goes along with getting a little help from your friends. Let’s say you have a press release you’d like to promote. Who will help you by using their precious ‘social media capital’ to promote it? Likely the people you most recently have helped promote THEIR news, blog, etc. Social media moves fast, and if you haven’t ‘paid it forward’ to me recently, I’m not as likely to notice you need help. What have you done for me lately? It may sound selfish, but our professional circles are getting larger and it’s easy to forget those who we don’t hear from or about recently. Stay visible and help others–something we covered in our recent ‘Connect, Don’t Collect’ post.

  9. Easy by Barenaked Ladies
  10. The more influential a person is in SM, the busier they are maintaining their networks, staying on top of the latest news and tools, etc. Most are more than willing to help out others, in the spirit of SM, but you should realize you’ll get the best results if you make it easy for them. A few months back someone I didn’t know kept messaging me on twitter to ‘link with them on LinkedIn.’ This would have entailed: 1. Looking up the person’s name on twitter 2. Searching for the person on LinkedIn 3. Inviting them to connect. All for someone I don’t know. Long story short, we didn’t connect until they made it easy for me by sending me the invitation which I simply had to click on to accept. Make it easy for people to help you. Use short, ‘friendly’ URLs for your news. Send LinkedIn requests with a short note explaining who you are and why someone should help you.

Now that you’ve seen the parallels between songs and social media, maybe you’ll start seeing them too in other places–tell us where you’ve ‘seen’ them below!

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