Saturday, April 04, 2009

Social Media Discussion - Ground Level

I will now prove to you that anyone can be a social media consultant. I will take you inside a social media conference that occurred recently.

Here's an email from my sister to my Dad and me:

I've had a few people ask me to join their Facebook or Linked In pages, and perhaps I'm a techno-boob, but I still can't quite "get" the value of signing on to one of these things. Why not just send an email to all your friends if you want to update them? Do you have any insights?

Here's my quick, blunt and not-very-helpful response:

That's a raging debate. I am on both of them, but I wish I weren't. As far as I'm concerned, life is much easier not being updated on the goings-on of people I knew in 8th grade (That's Facebook) Linked-In users will tell you it's a valuable networking utility, which is a bunch of crap.

Then we get a reasoned and thought-out answer to my sister's query from my Dad:

I'm also on both (and a few others of similar ilk). [name redacted] asked me to join Linkedin. His reason was that it provided a business-related networking capability, and he was, I think, out of a job at the time and trying to find one. He wanted to use me as a reference on that service, but as far as I know nothing ever came of it. I personally have no use for it. I suppose it could be a valuable "networking" tool if it were actually used for the purpose that it supposedly exists. But I have no idea if it's effective.

Facebook, and all those other social networking sites have some value I suppose. For example, [another daughter] uses Facebook to post pictures for all of us to see, rather than send them in separate mails/messages which she says costs her (I suppose she's talking about using her phone camera.) Of course there are other ways to share photos online. I've only joined this and others because one of the family (usually grandkids) have asked me to. Again, I personally have no particular use for them, and generally avoid using them. They've had their own security problems.

Bottom line is that I generally avoid using them. But it's obvious to me that some find them addictive.
Thinking about the work you're involved in now, I suspect you've got business associates that use them. Seems like every member of Congress thinks they need to Twitter. As do many celebrities. A lot of them are on Facebook. Ways to get noticed, keep up the celebrity, and supposedly stay in contact with the common man. If an important client is using one and wants to deal with you through it, then I guess that's an incentive.

And he fired off that reply jacked up on painkillers the day after partial knee replacement surgery. If he used Facebook more often (or Twitter) he might've just updated the occasional "Recovering from knee surgery" or "Love these pain killers" or "On couch after knee surgery," but I've seen no such updates from him. He's kickin' it old school, using that email thang. And sometimes - get this - the phone! I think I'm glad my Dad doesn't use Facebook that much.

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  • In terms of the congress members, it appears to be a great way to connect with their constituents, and the guarantee that its only 140 characters means they can read a good deal of comments from people that they would not be able to over e-mail (where, like blog comments, there is some rambling that goes on).

    Follow all of the congressional tweets:

    By Blogger DK, at April 4, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

  • I’d Say Mr. Shotgun ha a career ahead as a very skilled Social Media Expert Guru™.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at April 4, 2009 at 6:54 PM  

  • Have you noticed that the people most actively using social media tend to be the most antisocial among us? I'm not kidding. I wish I could sit around all day and Tweet and type "What's going on?" on Facebook. As the economy continues to tank, social media is becoming the hangout for the unemployed - the tavern you can turn to and not have to worry about buying drinks.

    By Blogger HighJive, at April 4, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

  • I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    By Blogger Tessa, at April 5, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

  • I'd like to friend your dad on facebook. I need to round out my painkiller supply chain network.

    By Blogger M.M. McDermott, at April 5, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

  • LinkedIn is a colossal waste of space. People keep asking me to join, but I've yet to figure out what exactly I'm joining. I either work with, used to work with or am related to all these people. So if I was in desperate need of a job, I think I'd just, you know, call them.

    Plus there's just about 0 interactivity on the site. So what's the point? Facebook's getting stale and revamping itself into oblivion, but at least stuff happens.

    By Blogger Teenie, at April 6, 2009 at 9:14 AM  

  • Well, apparently awesomeness runs in the family. And he makes me feel a little silly for spending as much time as I do on Facebook.

    By Blogger Thinking In Vain, at April 7, 2009 at 9:19 AM  

  • Your dad needs to hang out a shingle as an "anti-social media expert". The world needs them right now for balance.

    By Anonymous Chris Houchens, at April 7, 2009 at 10:56 PM  

  • I find linkedin very useful. You don't work on your network when you need a job, you work on it all the time, then when you need a job or to expand your client base, it's very simple.

    I watch for press releases and other announcements in my industry, and when I see something that indicates that a company is doing well, I search my linkedin network for people who are connected to that company. So far, I have had a first- or second-degree connection every time I have tried this. Then I either send an email to the person (first -degree) or request an introduction to the person through my network (second-degree). The email states that I've recently seen some positive press about the company and I'd like to know more about it. (Of course I will by this time also done my research.) This is how you find out about under-advertised opportunities and make a connection with the hiring manager or authorized purchaser.

    In these tough economic times, I've received a lot of "hi everybody, I'm looking for a job" email blasts. They are quickly forgotten. Your linkedin network is always there, and the contacts are more specific and more valuable.

    By Blogger martyparty, at April 8, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

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