The 2 Most Important Things You Can Do On The Internet

Earlier today I spoke to a small gathering of artists, speakers and managers about social media. Social media is all that stuff on the internet that allows us to interact with each other: We focussed our short time together on blogs, Twitter and Facebook – though there are literally hundreds of social media tools out there.

The main point we kept coming back to was that using social media properly allows us to engage in a dialogue, not just a monologue.

A dialogue takes more work than a monologue. A website like mine that’s updated daily is more work than a traditional artist website that never changes, for instance. And that work takes time.

For the last five years I’ve spent an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon on-line.

If I can only do two things in those two hours each day I choose these two:


  • Blog: Google Analytics and built-in WordPress stats allow me to see who is sending traffic to my blog. I read every post (or comment) sending traffic my way.
  • Twitter: Tweetdeck allows me to set up searches for my name (and misspellings of it) and my Twitter handle (@shaungroves) so that I “hear” when I’m being talked about in the Twitterverse.
  • Facebook:Every time someone comments on my page (or profile) Facebook sends me an e-mail. Same with every time I’m tagged in a note or photo.
  • The entire web: Thanks to Google Alerts, when my name is written anywhere on the internet I’m told about it. I read them all.


  • Blog: If a blogger is talking about me 1)I can add them to my Linkage page 2)blog about them 3)say “thanks” in the comments of their blog 4)send an e-mail thanks.
  • Twitter: If a tweet mentions me I can 1)direct message thank the author 2)reply publicly 3)follow them 4)add their blog (if they’ve linked to it on their profile page) to my Linkage page. Note: I never “retweet” kind words someone says about me. Public back patting is generally considered tacky to obnoxious.
  • Facebook: If I’m tagged in a Facebook note, photo or someone comments on my wall I can, again, say thanks in a number of ways: 1)comment on their comment 2)send a message to their inbox 3)post on their wall.
  • Beyond Thanks: “Thank you” is the very least I can do. Sometimes, honestly, it’s all I have time for, but ideally I stick around and engage in an actual conversation. That’s easiest on blogs where the ability to leave a comment let’s me go beyond mere gratitude to actually contributing to the conversation already in progress.


The examples I’ve shown here are all about me. But that’s not all I’m listening and responding too. I’m listening to what all my Twitter followers are saying, to what anyone on the web says about Compassion International and a number of other subjects, and I’m reading the status updates of my Facebook friends as well. And responding when there’s something to say.

I’ve read e-books, blog posts and listened to speakers doling out all kinds of “secrets” to making the most of social media. But it’s no great secret that at the heart of social media is “social.” It’s about people, dummy!

Listen and respond. Every day.

If you’re short on time, these are the two most important things you can do to make the most of social media.

What’s the greatest social media lesson you’ve learned?

Make a record with Shaun Groves