Social media brings me closer to people with whom I ordinarily would seldom interact. Family, friends, colleagues. As my co-author Amber Naslund put it once "with social media, my relationships aren't bound by geography or circumstance." Exactly.
People always slam Twitter for people talking about "what they had for lunch" but the blending of the personal and professional is very attractive to me. I want to know what music you listen to, what you think is funny, why your cat is insane. When was the rule written that business had to be all-business? Life is so boring under those conditions.
I love that I can interact with clients and friends at any time, from nearly any place. The ability to make or consume social media from an array of mobile devices increases the convenience factor (and the pressure on my wi-fi router) immensely.
The reason I was originally a political campaign consultant (late 80s, early 90s), is the satisfying success metrics. You can't get half elected. The day after an election, you're either ebullient or morose. That's what attracted me to online marketing initially, and why I made the jump to that career in the mid-90s. The tracking online (including social media) far outpaces what I had at my disposal when I was doing traditional marketing. The fuzzy numbers of TV, print, radio, outdoor and traditional PR drove me crazy. I like math and analysis and reality.
There's literally never a dull moment in social media. Every day is different, and significant changes occur on a near weekly basis. Facebook's gyrations alone are enough to keep you on your toes. I love change. I thrive on it. I simply cannot imagine working in an industry where status quo was the norm. I understand the appeal of certainly, it's just not my preference.
I am compelled by the fact that the bottom line objective of social media is to add human elements to companies that have acted like inhuman, robotic cyborgs for the past 40 years. The anthropomorphization of business is an interesting, satisfying challenge because it runs directly counter to what most businesspeople have been taught, and their corresponding comfort zone. Social media is fun because it's hard.
There are no right answers in social media, just answers that are more likely to be correct. It's a benefit, not a drawback that (despite what others might proclaim) there is no social media playbook that can taken off the shelf and executed in rote fashion for all companies. You are free to make your own reality and script your own success.
Sure, we all talk about Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. But the rise of social media isn't about technology and tools, it's about power and people. Social media gives us some measure of control over our relationships that have been largely fractured by our always-on society.
Every church, ad club, Rotary, Kiwanis, Elk, Moose etc organization in the U.S. is faced with declining membership, because who has the time for a 2-hour lunch any longer? Even in a recession, our economic productivity continues to climb. How is that possible? Because we are working faster, longer, and more intensely, and the time for friends and family falls by the wayside. And socia media also gives us power over brands in ways we've never enjoyed. Social media is word-of-mouth on steroids, and our ability to praise or punish brands with a few keystrokes is satisfying.
I'm a gadget guy. I love it. My favorite part of our new home in Bloomington, Indiana is the in-ceiling speakers throughout that I can manipulate with a hand-held Logitech Squeezebox controller, so I can pick any song from my iTunes library and play it in any room in three clicks. A love for software and hardware and figuring out how new stuff can change behavior is a handy attribute in the social media business.
As we adopt social media to connect personally and with companies, businesses will need to respond. Business responded to the invention of the telephone, fax machine, FedEx, and email. But have businesses truly responded to the rise of social media? Largely, they have not.
That's the premise of my new book with Amber Naslund, "The Now Revolution: 7 Moves to Transform Your Business with Speed, Smarts & Social Media." It's how companies need to change their culture, their people, their process, and their measuring sticks to succeed in real-time business.
I realize the gift you give me every day - the gift of your attention. I am incredibly fortunate to have readers and supporters that expose my work to a wider audience than most social media consultants enjoy. Your faith creates for me an opportunity to educate more and more marketers and the companies for which they work. I don't take that opportunity lightly, and I hope I never take it for granted.