Muhammad Saleem is a regular guy. He recently graduated from college. He works in the online space. He enjoys offbeat news items. He blogs.
So what makes him worthy of mention?
Saleem, or rather “msaleem,” is considered to be the one of the most influential users on Digg.com, with over 1,000 popular Diggs to his credit. And that makes the 22-year old a virtual god in the social media space.
One of the fundamental reasons for his rise to prominence is the fact that he was an early adopter, joining Digg.com back in September of 2005. But there’s more to it than that. The Chicago native embodies what social networking is supposed to be all about; meeting people and making friends.
And how do I know this? Because he told me.
Now I’m most definitely not would you would call an early adopter over at Digg, having finally registered back in February of this year. So how did I manage to land an audience with Muhammad? No, it’s not because of my marketing and/or networking prowess. It’s because I recently Dugg one of his submissions and took a second to review his profile. I noticed that he encourages folks to reach out to him via IM, so I decided to give it a shot.
Sure enough, Muhammad responded to my initial IM and we struck a brief conversation. It basically went like this:
I asked him some questions about his professional and personal life. He added me to his IM. I tried to impress him with my SEO resume (don’t think it worked) and we talked a little bit about how difficult it is to convince corporate clients about the virtues of both social media and original content. After a period of inactivity, I told him that it was time for Monday Night Football and he told me it was time for dinner, and that was it.
Frankly, it was refreshing to know that an individual that is so well-known in social media circles would take the time to talk with a virtual nobody. Furthermore, when I tried to explain why I was randomly sending him an IM, he responded by saying, “not at all random. I get this all the time, and enjoy it : - )”
Now at this point, some of you might have your cynicism censors firing off at full tilt. You might think that that Mr. Saleem’s approach is a thinly veiled attempt to further expand his virtual social empire, and that his motivations have little to do with actual human interaction.
I gotta tell you. I got the opposite vibe.
If anything, it seemed as if Muhammad was turned off by my attempts to turn the conversation into a networking event. It was refreshing, and it has inspired me to evaluate how I go about interacting with virtual friends and acquaintances.
Oh, and I also added my IM info to my Digg profile!