There is no learning like hands on learning. Books, seminars, or cocktail discussions are valuable, but it cannot compare to what you learn by rolling up your sleeves and doing something yourself.

In that light, here are three lessons I have learned through my increased involvement and starting this blog seven months ago.

Find the Unexpected

Until I actively engaged in social media, you could not anticipate the type of return I would see. The real results from my social media involvement have nothing to do with numbers. Not only has it exceeded my expectations, the return has come in areas I never considered.

Over the last few months, I have had exposure to pre-launch initiatives from a number of companies, including Bizo’s Switchboard, which I was able to share here the day it was released.

I have developed new industry relationships, some with people I have had tremendous respect for over the years, but who hardly knew I existed before. I’m awed by this democratizing power of social media.

My secret personal wish list at the launch of this blog: I hoped to have 10,000 page views in my first year (I hit that in less than six months), and I thought it would be cool if my Klout score could get to 40 (it is in the 60′s today).

Relationships are Key

Social media is social. I can tie every single benefit I have had to other people. People like you that have pushed me, challenged me and supported me.

The people that have unknowingly encouraged me, through their participation here and discussions we have had across social media, have been great. Without you, I would not have seen the benefits of social media and may not have continued through the first six months.

I can’t say this without saying thanks to Michael Brenner (@brennermichael). When I was wondering if I would ever see this blog get a comment from someone I didn’t know or help make new connections, Michael encouraged me, and since then I have met a number of people through Michael. So Michael, thank you.

There are many others as well, people that today push me, challenge me, inspire me and keep me in line. Here are just a few of them: Maureen Blandford (@maureenB2B), Allison Aldridge-Saur (@aldsaur) and Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu (@mediasres).

If you are not already following the five people mentioned above, you should.

You Can Create Content

My objectives when I started this blog included a personal one: become a better writer. I do not know if I have accomplished it, but writing is easier than it was seven months ago.

Content is one of the biggest challenges in B2B marketing. If I can write content that has created dialogue and helped to forge relationships, you can too. What this taught me is the biggest challenge isn’t content, it is reorganizing marketing to reflect the priority of content.

Your Turn

What have you learned through your involvement in social media? Or if you prefer, what should I be doing differently? Please share your comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).