No, it's not all about the tools. If, by "it", you mean the Big Ultimate Goal of All of This Stuff and Why We're Doing It In the First Place. I don't think we need to debate that point any further, do we?
But it's important to point out, as a bookend, that tools can be strategic, or at least part of developing sound strategy.
Blogging can be a strategy that helps you reach a larger goal of awareness or reach or idea testing or personal exploration or whatever. Twitter can be a viable part of a distribution network strategy or engaging the community you have in other places. You can vet its adoption or value for your audience, test ideas, track its usefulness as a traffic driver for your website.
For many companies, forays into social media include testing and experimenting with the mechanisms that are available, and let's face it, familiar and comfortable. And it's hard to ask an established business to commit to a full-blown social media strategic plan if they can't kick the tires on a few of the tools to see how they might work (or not).
What's important is that the company take the approach of testing and seeking tangible experiences that might relate to larger goals. That help provide some experience, some evidence, some immersion. A starting point.
As my friend Tamsen says, it's the why that matters, not the what. If the mechanical experiments help shed some light on what the bigger strategy should look like - the why - I think that's an okay thing indeed.
The trouble starts when we forget to connect the dots, make presence on a tool the goal in itself, and stop at "hey, look, Facebook!"
Having a strategy isn't about having all the answers. It's about mapping a process to try and find them, and constantly checking progress and adjusting along the way. Sometimes, tinkering with a tool or two can be just the way to do that.
See the difference?
image by comedy_nose
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