Would you be missed? Would I?

What would happen if you stopped everything you do online?

What if you stopped:

  • Blogging
  • Tweeting
  • Facebooking (is that a word?)
  • Linking
  • Commenting
  • Interacting

What would happen?  Would anyone miss you? Would your clients?  Your Community?

If the answer is ‘yes’…do you know that for sure? If the answer is ‘no’, what can you do differently to bring more value to your clients/community/readers/friends?

I asked myself this very question this morning and couldn’t answer a definitive ‘yes’.

Am I delivering value to you?

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Links for March 15 2009

The High Priests of IT – And the Heretics by Cory Doctorow on HarvardBusiness.org

Thank you, Jack Welch by Mike Neiss on The Tom Peters Weblog

Innovation, invention and entrepreneurs by Jeffrey Phillips on Innovate on Purpose

Solve the Right Problem by Paul Williams on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog

How Marketers Should Plan For Recovery by John Quelch on HarvardBusiness.org

Project Management on a Budget by Brad Egeland on Project Management Tips

The Ten Laws of IT: An IT Tuesday CCrit by Steven Levy on No Secret

Social Tribes: From Bowling Alone to Facebook by Tammy Erickson on HarvardBusiness.org

So Much to Be Bullish About – We Have People, After All by Lisa Haneberg on Management Craft

Communication = Information * Relationships by Jurgen Appelo on NOOP.NL

The Power of Story – Using Storytelling to Heal and Strengthen Teams by Cheri Baker on The Enlightened Manager (hat tip to Bas de Baar)

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Ramblings on Social Media

I’ve been lurking around the social web for quite some time experimenting with different systems and learning a tremendous amount from all of the ‘experts’ out there.

I’ve been on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Technorati and many many other systems.  I liked some and didn’t like some.

I recently started using Twitter (@ericdbrown) and Friendfeed (find me here) to get a good feel for what these systems are all about. Twitter seems to be all the rage these days and has gone from a small-ish audience to a large mass-market audience.   I think Friendfeed has a lot of value but think it will take some time to catch on.

The more I interact on these systems, the more frustrated I get with the proclamations that “Social Media” is the answer to our problems. The first real issue that frustrates me is that we all have different problems…but let’s ignore that for now.

Let’s assume that we have a marketing problem and need a better way to reach our clients. This is a perfect use for the tools in the Social Media toolbox. But we need to remember that they are tools…not the answer to the problem.

Back to the use of SM in your marketing problem. You’ve heard about Facebook.  You’ve heard about Twitter.  So…you open a Facebook account and a Twitter account.

Now what?  Well…you’re on Facebook and Twitter. You’ve done what “they’ve” told you to do….you’ve opened an account.  You’ve made ‘friends’ and you’ve posted some things.  But you aren’t seeing much from your efforts.  Why aren’t your clients knocking your doors down?

Well…if you did it ‘right’, you would have people knocking down your door….but most organizations & people don’t do it right. Most people get on these platforms and post promotional material and links back to their websites or marketing-speak laden material.   If you are going to get on these platforms, you’ve got to be real and interactive.  You’ve got to embrace the community out there.

This blog post isn’t about ‘how to do it right’…lord knows I’m not a Social Media expert.  Go read Chris Brogan, Giovanni Gallucci or the many other experts out there.

This blog post is just a reminder to the few folks that stumble upon it that Social Media is a tool.  Social Media should be part of your overall strategy for reaching your clients. Social Media isn’t the answer.

Let’s look at Twitter and Friendfeed again as examples.

Twitter is fun. There are some great people on there and some great content being shared. Heck, Twitter has turned into a citizen journalism tool (note the recent US Airways crash in NYC…news first broke across Twitter with the first pic from the scene – more here).  Twitter is going mainstream fast.  If you aren’t on Twitter, you will probably will be before end of 2009.

Friendfeed may be the next ‘big’ SM tool but the jury is still out on it to see if the mainstream users pick it up.  Scoble loves Friendfeed, I like Friendfeed too but I still see a lot of people trying to grasp what it can be used for.

The thing that many people miss with Twitter and Friendfeed and all other Social Media is that they are tools.Tools to be used to communicate with people who wish to receive communication in that manner.  What about the millions of people that aren’t using those tools.  How will you reach them?  How will you reach through the noise on these platforms to reach your target(s)?

These tools, and all other tools, are great as long as we remember that they are tools.  Tools to be used to share your message.  Tools to build your brand and client base. Tools to communicate with your community.

Social Media isn’t the answer…its a tool to be used to find the answer.  Social Media is a tool to be used to share your message.  Just remember to make your message simple and honest.  Make your message authentic and it will connect with people regardless of what tools you use.  Authenticity will reach through the noise and connect.

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Twitter & Friendfeed

hey everyone – I’ve been lax in letting you know that I’m on Twitter and Friendfeed…feel free to follow/subscribe.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ericdbrown
Friendfeed – http://friendfeed.com/ericbrown


This book,  with the full title of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” is a must read for anyone trying to figure out how to benefit from the social networking phenomenon.

This book is perfect for anyone who doesn’t understand ‘social media‘…and for those that think they do! It  provides case-based examples of how organizations have used social media to engage their users.  The examples provided in the book are quite good and describe how organizations have used social media to embrace their community.

Before you go out and buy the book on my recommendation, let me point out a couple of important points:

  • This book does not tell you how to implement a social network.
  • This book will not solve your social media problems.  It will help you with understanding your problems and give you some ideas for solutions.

What this book will do is help you understand that there isn’t any one answer to the question of ‘how to embrace social media”.  The book provides many examples of social media experiments…some successful and some failures.

The book provides a ton of information about demographics and age group differences and how age normally affects social media usage.  Excellent information that everyone should review.

For me, the most interesting section of the book is the one in which the authors state very clearly that any social media project (or really any project for that matter) can be made more successful if the following four steps are followed:

  • First, look at your People.
  • Second, Set at your Objectives.
  • Third, Review your Strategy.
  • Fourth, look at Technology.

This approach, which the authors abbreviated as POST, is no different than any proper strategic planning initiative…at least in my book. When any organization starts to look at new things like social media, they must first look at their people and their customers.  Is this new strategy something that can be achieved easily? Is it viable?

The second step is to Set your Objectives for the project.  What are you trying to achieve with this social media project (or any project)?  The third step is to review your overall strategy as well as determine your ‘go to market’ strategy.  The last step (which most organizations perform first), is to select the technology platform that you will use to carry out your strategy.  I can’t count how many times I’ve seen this process performed backwards with technology selected before any real thought was put into the strategy, objectives and people.  Many of those projects failed miserably because of that.

The book is well reviewed…and is well deserving of those reviews.  Its an excellent book for anyone interested in this topic.  Highly recommended.

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