Recently, I wrote a post that received many comments, some supportive, some harsh. I’ve not written my follow-up, though it’s pending, and in the interim, there’s another comment that is so lengthy and insightful in its approach that I’m going to run it as a post today.
Social Media: We’re All Talking to Ourselves spawned thoughts up front, on the side and behind the scenes in many a discussion about whether I was being whiny and needed a swift kick in the pants, or whether I was on to something. The jury is still out because they’re pondering.
I thank, and am grateful to, the genuine remarks presented in a highly professional fashion by Patty Swisher, director of public relations and marketing at IKM, Inc. in Pittsburgh. She read the post and asked me via Twitter whether she could add a lengthy comment to my blog, and that she preferred to email it first to ensure I was accepting of her thoughts. After receiving her email with comment, I immediately picked up the phone (thanked her verbally) and asked whether I could instead use her comment as a full-on post. She agreed.
(I shared this with you to show folks how social media begets amazing engagement. I am inspired by Patty’s reaction and actions today.)
Here is what Patty offered up today; let’s keep the conversation going…who else would like to weigh in with more perspective?
Your post, “Social Media: We’re All Talking to Ourselves,” really hit home with me. I feel the same way. This is much of the reason that I’ve resisted starting my own blog. I recall not too terribly long ago when you started yours, eager and excited and the bumps and hurdles that ensued. I applaud you for your efforts.
I get the sense, daily, that Twitter users (especially) have no interest in “conversing.” They are all about self promotion, although by our own account this is the dirty little secret that nobody talks about.
It’s very much like the “rule” of adding a little personality to your tweets. Really, no. People don’t want to know nor do they care if you have life beyond your keywords. If you mention them, they “unfollow” or quit. The great little program “Qwitters,” offers almost instant proof of this.
I am a “learner” and “relator” by nature – and still a Pisces, I might add despite the latest news reports, perhaps relevant as a “small fish,” but I digress. Gallup’s Strength’s Finder 2.0 reinforces this and tells me so. Given this, I love reading what people have to say. And I love connecting on Twitter (and Facebook and LinkedIn, among others). I think it’s fascinating to be able to connect with people from Atlanta to Australia with a click, from my desk here in Pittsburgh, or my soft chair in my North Hills suburb.
In addition to avoiding ‘self promotion,’ the social media and “Twitter Elders” have also put out the notion that its “improper” to follow too many more people than follow you. I understand. In dating it’s never appropriate to be too needy or too clingy. But, in my opinion, it defeats the purpose of connecting.
I’m upside down right now following to followers. But, it’s a result of what you speak of, and what Mark Schaefer suggests – it is what I’ve created. When I get bored with my Twitter feed I look for new and interesting people to follow. I get tired of hearing the same old chants.
The good thing is the net is an ocean of information. Again, as Mark suggests (although perhaps a little harsh), if you’re not happy where you’re fishing, move your boat to a new spot.
I know if I had a blog (albeit, well-written and relevant) it would help to increase my relevant followers. But, as a learner and relator, I don’t consider myself an expert. I leave that to the other guys – and there are plenty of them out there. [Plus in daily marcom, to throw in a little jargon, I’m begging for blog/content from our firm’s principals who haven’t signed on to the value of social media yet. More on that later.]
I also agree with your statements about the social media leaders who publish the “most followed” blogs and share the lime lite. I think that’s a natural progression in business, in life for that matter. If you’ll indulge me, in the business sense, think of the product life cycle, there are the ‘firsts.’ Those who see the trend first and can capitalize on it. Then there is the growth stage. A big build up and growth in a new arena, all of the ‘me-too’ companies or individuals and those who think they can do better. At maturity, the good ones, or maybe the ones who shout the loudest, seem to ‘bubble to the top.’ And this might be what we’re seeing/feeling in the social media/marketing/pr circle right now.
I was doing some list maintenance this week, partially for this very reason. It’s great to share comments and stories with like-minded individuals. It makes us feel good, reinforces that we are right and we do know what we’re talking about even if that last client didn’t hire us or our bosses don’t know it yet.
The other reason I was re-evaluating my lists was to get a better idea of where my interests are heading. The thing I love about social media is that there is something new to learn every day. To me, as a learner, that’s exciting – addictive. So, I’m still learning about using lists and not sure how it will all pan out. Quite frankly, there are not enough hours in the day to read all that I would like to.
While I’m sure there are tons of people out there who are making money and lots of it in social media and they’ve really made a name for themselves as experts, like you, I don’t think it will ever be the magic bullet for SMB that we’re hoping for. That’s ok, as long as we set our goals and objectives appropriately.
The other point that I would like to offer you, that I suspect you already know, is that Social Media has become an industry. Not unlike advertising and PR, sometimes a part of it; sometimes on its own. This industry continues to grow and mature and its trajectory has been phenomenal.
My point, to keep in mind, is that other industries are still way down on the learning curve. I can only speak of my own experiences. I’m in professional services as I briefly mentioned above. I’ve been watching it. It’s not bubbling yet, but it’s coming. Like a pot on the stove, the water is heating up but it hasn’t begun to boil yet.
I don’t disagree with any of the comments. Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt!
But thanks for being willing to speak up. I bet lots of people feel the same way.