Honestly, Do Any of Us Get Social Media?

Sometimes I have to wonder if we’re all nuts or something. We all talk about social media like there are “rules”, that we truly and honestly know what’s going on day to day. Emperor has no clothes? I’m not even sure there is an emperor to begin with!

How about this, could we all just fess up?

We’re making it all up as we go along.

There, I said it.

What caused this “Jerry McQuire” moment? Just another (rather good) post about social media and agencies—5 Reasons Agencies Continue to Struggle with Social Media. Sure, (many) agencies don’t get social media, I don’t think that is a)surprising or b)problematic. Come on remember when the Web was young and HTML tables were cool? Yeah, agencies didn’t really get that very well either. They figured it out, though.

Let’s return to the premise here: I don’t think any of us get social media either.

Here’s all I know about social media:

  • I like talking with people who share my interests
  • I like being able to talk with those people regardless of geography or time
  • I like being able to tap into a word-wide fire hose of information
  • I like writing stuff and putting it on the Internet
  • I like it when people read this stuff and let me know what they think of it (or share it with others).
  • I see that all the tools and services that have emerged for these technologies and idea…are changing how we do all of the above.

Beyond that, well it’s all in flux. Everything that we’re developing right now is so new that a large group of kids growing up will have some pretty confused ideas about what should be public versus private. Don’t think so? I have one word for you: Zuckerberg.

Maybe this niggling feeling of make-it-up-as-we-go is why I enjoy teaching more concrete things to people. Making websites with WordPress? That’s about using a great tool for posting content onto the Internet. Sure there are social media tools built in, and I certainly show how to connect Twitter etc to their sites, but it isn’t about social media, it’s about writing.

Even talking about Twitter (or RSS) for competitive intelligence, I avoid the whole topic of conversing or connecting once you have the information. I focus on how to find the information and learn how to use it in business.

WordCamp Vancouver? That was so not a “social media conference” that I think everyone there got a ton out of the time without needing to worry about if they were “doing social media right”. The people there were just doing it right. They write, create, run their businesses, connect with friends and colleagues, and share knowledge.

So, many the best way for all of us to “get” or “use” social media isn’t to try to at all. How about we just worry about using these new communications and publishing tools to expand our horizons and connect with people.

Crap, that is social media isn’t it?

Well at least we figured that out.


Comments

  1. says

    Huge sigh of relief. The pressure to “do it” right is enormous. When the focus should be be on the basics of communications – listen, exchange ideas, think, take action, listen, exchange ideas, make connections (in no particular order; except that listen should happen more frequently).

    • says

      Who’s putting that enormous pressure on you? Yourself? I hope not.

      I think the communication basics you speak to are important guide rails to remember when using social media. However, guides shouldn’t be focal points. They should act as explorative starting points.

      • says

        I think the pressure to do right, do well, and be on the ball is huge, especially if you’re working in social media. Even if you’re the “social media expert” in your company you have a pretty heavy burden to carry. People want to make sure they are doing everything “right”. If you’re a consultant, it’s even more difficult because people are paying you money for your advice.

  2. says

    Huge sigh of relief. The pressure to “do it” right is enormous. When the focus should be be on the basics of communications – listen, exchange ideas, think, take action, listen, exchange ideas, make connections (in no particular order; except that listen should happen more frequently).

    • says

      Who’s putting that enormous pressure on you? Yourself? I hope not.

      I think the communication basics you speak to are important guide rails to remember when using social media. However, guides shouldn’t be focal points. They should act as explorative starting points.

      • says

        I think the pressure to do right, do well, and be on the ball is huge, especially if you’re working in social media. Even if you’re the “social media expert” in your company you have a pretty heavy burden to carry. People want to make sure they are doing everything “right”. If you’re a consultant, it’s even more difficult because people are paying you money for your advice.

  3. says

    Great article! I think social media, or twitter more specifically is a great means of advertising and distribution (thats how I found your site!). But you’re absolutely right about the things that you know about social media and those are also the things that make it great. Blogs are great, I have one too, but you have to use the right tool for the right job.

    Keep up the great writing tho, it’s awesome.

    • says

      I’d be careful branding Twitter as a great way to advertise. It –can– be, for sure, but it won’t work for everyone.

      I agree about your point about distribution, though. That’s how I see Twitter more generally too – a realtime content distribution engine.

      • says

        I think using Twitter to “advertise” is fine, as long as you keep the term “advertise” in a general sense in your head. I advertise myself on Twitter all the time. A lot of the services I use advertise specials, new products, and updates on Twitter. Like all marketing things, we have to do things in moderation.

  4. says

    Great article! I think social media, or twitter more specifically is a great means of advertising and distribution (thats how I found your site!). But you’re absolutely right about the things that you know about social media and those are also the things that make it great. Blogs are great, I have one too, but you have to use the right tool for the right job.

    Keep up the great writing tho, it’s awesome.

    • says

      I’d be careful branding Twitter as a great way to advertise. It –can– be, for sure, but it won’t work for everyone.

      I agree about your point about distribution, though. That’s how I see Twitter more generally too – a realtime content distribution engine.

      • says

        I think using Twitter to “advertise” is fine, as long as you keep the term “advertise” in a general sense in your head. I advertise myself on Twitter all the time. A lot of the services I use advertise specials, new products, and updates on Twitter. Like all marketing things, we have to do things in moderation.

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