He hates social media

Matt Jones writing at Advertising Age says he hates social media. Does he really?

He makes several good points, but what I think he boils down to is the appropriateness of the medium for the message. Like all new technologies there are many who lean and innovate and there are many who jump on the bandwagon – some jump and land successfully and others just jump and aren’t really sure where they’ve landed.

In some way it’s the whole ‘I need a brochure!’, ‘Why do you need a brochure?’, ‘Because my competitor has one’. Bypassing the clever thinking that actually looks at your symptoms, challenges and what the actual behaviours that you’re trying to elicit from your audience and taking the one size fits all approach. Its lazy thinking in lots of ways.

It can also be cheap thinking, follow someone else’s innovative model, replicate their internet presence and endeavours and collect the fruits of theirs and your small labours.

Here’s some good examples he gives of true innovations:

Amazon makes it easy for people to find things they want, based on recommendations they can believe in. Local bakeries tip off nearby followers about fresh bread and cookies via Twitter, while Tony Hawk used regular tweets to facilitate a global treasure hunt for his skateboards. Adobe uses Delicious to bookmark helpful sites for its customers, connecting its community and rewarding innovative partners. Urban Outfitters has turned its Flickr page into a giant, wearer-generated catalog and style guide. The U.K.’s Guardian, a relatively niche title in printed form, has turned itself into the world’s pre-eminent online newspaper, because it understands that online news plays by different rules. Speight’s Brewery invited millions of Kiwis to follow online as a pub it built on a container ship sailed from New Zealand to France. And brands like Starbucks and Doritos have openly collaborated with their loyalists to create new products.

There’s a lot of truth in what he says, there’s nothing more irritating that seeing a multiple re-tweet of the same link, I hesitate to retweet, thinking that the people follow me will probably be following the people that I am, creating a chorus of circular tweets all singing the same deafening and irritating song.

The power of social technology is how much you value the author. And how much you respect their opinion in the field they’re commenting or recommending on. The technology is just the tool, the same way a carrier pigeon from a respected friend carries more weight than a complete stranger. The same way an email from an automated spam bot gets deleted whereas a sincere tip of the hat from an established expert carried a lot more weight. Though even experts that stray outside of their established field can run into trouble. You know who are.

I wouldn’t recommend selling over a social conduit per se, it seems an abuse of the relationship you’re trying to forge. Celebrate your accomplishments, share your learnings, build community and confidence. Expecting a vigorous call to arms to result in anything but being de-followed may be a tweet too far.

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