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How to be the Life of the Social Media Party

Posted By Darren Rowse 22nd of July 2010 Video Posts 0 Comments

Being good on social media really has a lot to do with being good in relationships and conversation.

I made this statement in a presentation really and have been pondering it ever since. While there are a lot of great techniques for increasing the effectiveness in your use of blogging or social media – much of it does really come down to relational skills.

This video explores some of the similarities between being the type of person people are attracted to talking to in ‘real life’ and being the type of person people want to interact with on blogs and other types of social media including:

  • Being interesting and interested
  • Being engaging
  • Having something unique to say
  • Taking initiative and not just being passive

Notes: See the full sized video here. Video shot on a Panasonic Lumix DMC GF1 (aff) – here’s why I use that camera.

Transcript of Video

I’ve had this video transcribed below for those who prefer to get it that way. The transcription provided by The Transcription People.

Last week I was at a conference speaking about social media – half way through I made a statement off-the-cuff that being good in social media or in blogging was really just about being good in life and good in relationships.

Social media is, as its name suggests, the social interaction that one person has with another person or a group of people. It’s a communal activity and, as a result, a lot of the things that apply to just being good at relationships apply to social media as well.

This morning I was thinking about what makes someone attractive in terms of conversation and what makes someone good at being in relationships. I was thinking about when you go to a party and you come away from that party either having had really good conversations with people or really bad ones and I’m beginning to think about some of the dynamics that make a someone the life of the party, someone who is, that draws others to them at a party because a lot of those same characteristics actually fit within the social media space as well.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to be an extrovert to be good at social media, but some of the things about good party-goers actually do apply.

Something Interesting to Say

I was thinking back to some of the parties that I’ve been to recently and the people that I’m drawn to at parties are people who are, one, they’ve got something interesting to say. They have experiences or they have a knowledge or they have just the ability to be able to talk about interesting things. Sure, it’s fun sometimes to talk about rubbish and to have a bit of fun with that but, really, I come home from parties thinking about the good conversations that I’ve had that have actually been interesting, that have been about things that I perhaps didn’t know before.

Interesting but also Interested

So, these people are interesting but they’re also interested. They’re people who are not only willing and able to talk about themselves or to be able to talk about life from their own perspective but they’re actually interested in what others think, in what you think. They look you in the eye, they ask you questions and then they listen to what you’ve got to say and then what they have to say builds upon what you’ve said.

They actually show you that they’ve listened to you and are able to build upon that and that’s what a, that’s when a good conversation happens is, it’s not just when two people talk in monologues and then don’t interact with what each other have said; it’s actually something that builds, that gains momentum and that takes listening, it takes being interested as well.

They’re entertaining, quite often, they’re willing to be a bit playful and perhaps have a joke at themselves, at you and in a friendly kind of way.

They’re engaging, they ask questions.

They’re personal, they don’t just talk as if they’re talking to strangers in a room, a crowd of people. They actually look you in the eye, they actually will share something of themselves in a personal kind of way and add to the conversation in that way.

They’re inclusive, and this is one of the things that I think really is applicable to social media is that these types of people, they quite often will not only be talking to you but they’ll be engaging others around you in the party. They’ll be making introductions, they’ll be making, they’ll be connecting other people together and in a way that actually sets those two people up for a conversation, by introducing two people and pointing out some common interests and facilitating conversations not just between them and one other person but they almost create a community around themselves at parties.

And this is one of the things that I think is particularly applicable to the social media space is that, not only can you have a great conversation with an individual, but you can actually create a community and introduce your readers, your followers to one another.
I’m seeing this happen at the moment through the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge that’s being run by SITS Girls. There’s this community happening there and, sure, I’m a part of it – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog’s going on – I wrote that, I’m trying to participate in that, but there’s this whole thing happening almost without me participating at all and it’s really a powerful thing to see a community build up around something that you’ve created.

These type of people, they take initiative. They don’t just let conversations happen and then chime in where they want; they actually drive the conversation forward. They’re taking initiative and thinking about what else they could say, what questions they could ask. They’re not passive in that way. And sometimes they’re actually quite surprising in the directions that they’ll take in a conversation. It’s often those conversations that end up in a completely different place that I think about as being good conversations. They’re not just predictable, they’re unique. They’ve got something unique to say and they’re quite willing to go and explore those types of angles to the conversation.

These people, they’re not arrogant, they’re not aloof and they’re not boring, they’re not passive; they’re actually taking initiative, they’re interesting and they’re interested. They’re the type of people I’m interested in chatting to at parties and also in social media. I’d be interested to hear about some of the characteristics that you find attractive in, both in real life but also in the social media space. If you’d like to leave a comment, we can interact around those in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Thank you for the transcript, Darren! (I’m at work:-p)

    I’m glad that I found some great contents about blogging.
    Also, I really like the way people comment here, very friendly and sincere. (just like your post!)

  2. Nice post Darren. It’s always good to try to branch out as most as possible when it comes to getting exposure on your site. Whether it is through practicing certain SEO tactics or just putting your work on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, etc., there is no better way to gain visitors than social networking. It ultimately is like a tree that slowly branches out and spreads across the ground it covers. One person can lead to another, which can lead to a few more, which can lead to one of those people talking about it on their “popular” site.

    It takes some practice, especially if you are a shy person (which I used to be). However, I feel like I’m getting better at it.

  3. You’re right, it’s all about being engaging and interactive. It’s also important to be human in SM, the same rules apply in SM as real life – be kind, and play nicely. Be fair.

  4. Great video Darren and it covers topics I also regulary cover on my own site ‘thenewsgeek.com’, the internet is no different from real life, we have to communicate properly!

  5. So true, too many times have I seen people who just don’t be friendly. They can be just plain harsh or show no character at all!

  6. Darren I think you made some good points here. I agree with you that people who are good in socializing in real life are also better in social media and building relationships online through social networking sites which also made me realize something about the people who are social media consultants. Most of those who are social media consultants are girls who are more attuned to communicating and socializing better in real life than men in general.

  7. Great post here. I agree that life is all about building good relationships in life and to other people. And it’s applicable in anything, either it’s work, it’s business, it’s a political agenda, and even blogging or social medias. Even if you’re stuff are so interesting but you are not showing interest to others, it won’t work. I love your site. keep posting great stuff! :)

  8. Very cool and something I’ve said to a lot of people who have joined services like Twitter and said they didn’t know what to do and they didn’t get much out of it.

    If you think of Twitter specifically as a party, you have a crowd of people already in conversation…some you know, some you wish you knew and some you don’t recognize at all.

    How to you engage these people? You listen in on their conversation…you do…you eavesdrop. And when you hear something you feel you can comment on (the old “add value” we all hear about) you jump in with a smile and a comment. If they like what you’ve said, the introductions start and you’re brought into the group.

    You can’t just join Twitter and expect it to converse with you, you have to work the room.

    Great post, Darren.

  9. in social, i got encouragement from friends and relations
    that’s what i love most

  10. Hey man I really appreciate ur posts. I keep looking at all of them and hoping that doing this will help my blog in gaining publicity. Also life is definitely about building things that will make you happier in life! Great job!

  11. I think social media is overhyped at this point. People are doing it b/c they think they’re supposed to be doing it. Social media is just another tool, like the telephone or email. Remember when blogging was all the craze.

  12. Great post Darren. However, I disagree with you a little bit on the concept. Yes, social media should be like a party…..but now it is full of spammers who just spam out affiliate links and information about their business.

    I think it is really difficult to find interesting people on the social networks because of this. So while I do agree that social media should be like a party, I think we are losing more and more of it every day.



  13. Hi – that was a great post. Do you ever have trouble being misunderstood with that accent? LOL, just joshing, I’m a kiwi so I have to get a dig in.

    I was really sceptical about all this blog, facebook social media stuff until I got interested in paleo diets and now I really enjoy engaging with like minded people across the world in a way that I probably couldn’t with people immediately around me (e.g. friends and family). I think where the subject (and writer) is genuine social networking can be very useful.

  14. I really like your blog. I havent been in the affiliate business to long. It is nice to read your article and the comments. Loved it!

  15. Yes! Be engaging, this resonates! Too many people blog, really rather selfishly, never engaging with others, showing interest in their blogs. It’s Me-ism to the max.

    Blogging is much like real life. Charming people show interest in others. If you want to have a charming blog, engage others.

  16. Be active, and it’s all yours.

  17. I have to say this was a really good post because it really does make a lot of sense. Then I started to think about my previous job which was working within the hospitality industry and realized, “you know, if there is one skill to carry on with blogging and social media, it’s definitely something you can pass on from the job I did to this.” A person just has to be open, honest, be engaging, and just go for it by being yourself.

  18. Interesting observation, Darren. Humor really is an important ingredient of success.

  19. Hi Darren Rowse,
    you really have some kind serious talent, really strong point you have, i’m 100% agree with you… there are many different types of people out there, and one thing is common amoung all of them is that they dont let you control their decisions easily, so you have to work harder than ever and be loyal…

  20. I worked for a man that was mile above somebody else around in the way he would communicate with people. He said fascinating thing, carried conversions in fascinating directions and was always fully engaged. But his most eminent skill was how he listened, fully, to what was being said. He made each person feel connected to him.
    This relates to your party analogy well, because what made him stand out was that he did this with all his staff, with all his guests, with suppliers, and even over his emails. When he would be on his off days, I would must take over his electronic mail, and it was wonderful how different his emails were from mine. There were new canines, infant birthdays, etc… and then business. Mine were order #34, did you revive
    great post

  21. My blog is running on WP too. I really like this… updates keep the system secure, free themes give lots of nice designs and the look and feel of WP is just great! I love it!

  22. x2

    ….and this is the thing – the greatest life skill is the ability to sell yourself. Take a graphic artist for example – they might be very spesh at design, but what good is it if they can’t sell their services? If they can’t impress the customer? Theyhave this awesome ability to make stylish and professional designs, but then they fall short in marketing that skill.

    Bottom line —> customer-facing and communication skills are vital to the very idea of being successful in any type of business.

    Worthy post.

  23. Hi Darren I attempted to ask this on your old post 10 ways not to do or something like that but I could not comment because it has expired. Great post by the way. My questions is this. I get about 10+ obvious spam comments on my blog a day. That not exactly of topic how they love my post ect but of course not specific. Does it hurt my blog to allow these comments and my brand or not? How about commenting on them? I would love your advise.

    Thanks in advance for your response,


  24. Social Media is one area I really have to work at developing. I need to talk to people more before I write a post. That way I will be able to write what they want/need to read.

  25. Darren, you’ve stated some fantastic characteristics that make one interesting in social media. I agree with everything you’ve mentioned. I think the most important things perhaps a tweeter should have is something interesting to say (so others can learn from him) and to be able to engage others in conversations. I have seen some do this in an amazing way on twitter — they just have a knack to know what to talk about, what topics are interesting, and what questions to ask! Perhaps it is bc they care and are reaching out to others and really listening to them. I find them very creative. They’re just being themselves, I believe is what it amounts to. I think it is important to be yourself on Twitter, even if on occassion you have to be controversial. Just be yourself! I think another characteristic that’s ok is to have some fun occassionaly. Many have told me it is a No-No, but I don’t agree. Darren, thanks for this very enlightening post. It is going to make me think about how I can better help those I converse with, and how I can be a better listener. :)

    krissy knox

  26. I assume, the best way is to be a conversation driver in this situations.

  27. humor seems to be very important in posting I agree as well..

  28. started to think about my previous job which was working within the hospitality industry and realized, “you know, if there is one skill to carry on with blogging

  29. I was told by someone who is great in social media that social relations are just as important online as offline, but it was nice to have it broken down in specific content.

  30. This is timely information for me as I come out of my shell and engage more online. I’m not naturally an outgoing person or extrovert so it takes a bit of effort. I suppose the best thing to do is think about the other person and how I can add value to their lives.

  31. Hi Darren – a good article, it is true that people with good relations and social skills to some extent will provail in the world of social media. I’m at a bit of loss when it comes to both social media and real social situations since I have AS syndrome… I don’t think I’m all that bad with online social media, but I do prefer to spectate rather than participate.

    Keep it up!

  32. It’s always kind to fling in something unsystematic, maybe it’ll lead to new guests. Good tip Darren.

  33. I do find that most of the time – those who are introverted have a lot to say, but it takes a lot to get it out of them. Whereas, the extroverts have a lot to say.. have been through more experiences because they are internally programmed to say yes more often than the introverts so it’s easier to have conversations and get these experiences out of them. I like the principle of “less work” in terms of conversation. I would like to work less and have the interactions go back and forth effortlessly.

  34. Hi Darren,

    Social media parties are becoming the big trend and they are a great way to grow your following especially if one were to follow the tips laid out in this post.

    If people are normally reserved in off line social settings such a conferences, social media parties could quite possibly be just the they need to sharpen their networking skills.

    Finding a social media party in your niche is a great way to interact with others. I attend parties that interest me so that I can added valuable conversation and insight to the party.

    Thanks for another great post.

  35. Hi Darren,

    What do social media mean to a man aged 62, with asthma, hypothyroidism, arthritis and sinus problems?

    I’ll tell you. They helped me retire early from a newspaper editor’s job. They helped me be a full-time web publisher with 1.4 million unique visitors to my flagship website – a hobby site I transformed into a lucrative business.

    Thank you Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    Social media sites – when used smartly – are invaluable tools for promoting an online business and brand.

    Keep up the fantastic work Darren.

    Tom Corr.

  36. You made some great points in this video. When you talk about having good social interaction, a lot of what you are talking about is having interpersonal skills which is a big part of being emotionally intelligent. I wrote my dissertation on how emotional intelligence impacts sales performance. EI is basically understanding how you feel as well as how others feel. Part of being successful in sales or social interaction is that interpersonal connection and empathy that comes with being emotionally intelligent.

  37. Good point! I’m really trying to be that socialite but it’s difficult when you lack the confidence. Blogging is very new to me but I can see that it will take constant communication, riveting posts and SEO strategies.

  38. I think that being personal is the most important part of “becoming the life of the social media party.” The reason I believe that is because I see a lot of people in my own network of social media enthusiasts try very hard to win the hearts and minds of those around them by spewing a link, an opinion, or a comment on every bit of information they find remotely interesting. It gets very annoying and seems very contrived. If your personal, meaning you legitimately consider the thoughts and feelings of others, it will go a long way.

  39. Hi Darren,

    great tips. Anyway,I am not really active in social media but I do hope so soon…

  40. This post on the life of the party reminds me of the lead character in Swingers played by Vince Vaughn. Really though, you can be the life of the party and never really say ‘anything’. Being interesting doesn’t just cut it for me–I think we are smarter than that!

  41. Being interesting and interested are the two most important factors here. I would also say that having something unique to say, although beneficial, is not entirely crucial as if you can put your own spin on a subject, make it more engaging / easy to digest can have the same effect as some unique content. Enjoyed reading the comments here, some good ideas.

  42. Hi Darren, great video! I fully agree. I think one reason why people have such a hard time online is that they really aren’t that comfortable talking to people live. Some how they think that it will be so much easier “online” rather than having a face to face conversation. Social media really requires you to be outgoing and engage people.

  43. Hello , nice post.I agree with the point you make regarding social media. People are very different. According to me social relation is as important online that offline , but it is true that offline relations should be favoured.
    Thanks for the interesting podt.

  44. Hi Darren,

    I only recently came across your blog and have to say I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for the value you share.

    I particularly enjoyed this video. In fact I’m going feature this post on my blog so more of my readers can come on over and hear what your good advice! :)

    I think too many people are so busy adding friends on social media networks that they don’t have the time to have any quality interactions with any of them which defeats the whole purpose really.

    The one thing I believe helps one to be social is simply to be genuinely interested in people. If you ask enough of the right questions you don’t have to do much work other then listen!


  45. I don’t know if you read all of your comments, Darren…but, I have to say this is the first video post of yours I’ve ever seen. I have always regarded you as a seemingly boring character (albeit very reliable!). Then just now I realized just how powerful a video post can be. You seem quite the opposite of boring! In fact, you are probably forever endeared to me now. I suppose it is mostly the fact that your passion for the subject is exuded through video. In other words it is clear to me just how much you enjoy and think about the stuff you write/talk about. Anyway, I feel like with my own blog my biggest problem is my inability to make things happen in social media spaces. I’ve been home for two years practically in seclusion because I had twin babies and the pregnancy was rough (and I’ve elected to stay home with them). This means I haven’t been very social and so I’m taking a lot away with me today thanks to your post. I’m going to start video posts! Thank you! and Cheers :)

  46. Hi Darren,

    a great take. I like the expression “interesting, but also interested”. It sums up pretty well what social media is all about, doesn’t it ? The other aspects are necessary conditions in order to fulfill that first prerequisite. Or am I mistaken ?

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take care


  47. Hi Darren,

    I totally agree with you on this. Being at a social is no different than blogging here on the internet. You have to be interesting as well as interested. And like you side the best way to find out is to initiate the conversation. Once I initiate a conversation I like to find out their hobbies and what they do for a living. That always seem like it ends up as a two hour conversation lol… thanks for sharing this post


  48. Hi Darren,
    nice video.. I fully agree.
    Really good article. Bless those people who take initiative. But such people are harder to find these days… But interacting with such people can take you a long way as a person and as a blogger. thanks for sharing.

  49. I suppose it is mostly the fact that your passion for the subject is exuded through video. In other words it is clear to me just how much you enjoy and think about the stuff you write/talk about. Anyway, I feel like with my own blog my biggest problem is my inability to make things happen in social media spaces.

  50. Hey Darren,
    being interesting but also interested – that is the mindset of a true leader in my opinion. And I think it is very important to create or develop your own style and not just to copy someone’s style – people will notice that. People are attracted by self-confident and sovereign individuals who are really PASSIONATE about something.

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