Monday, March 17, 2008

Are you curious?

More than once during my stay in Austin last week, I had someone tell me that they were worried that blogs and social media had passed them by. They feared that everyone they encountered knew more about these tools than they did, which made them helplessly behind.

I made two points in response:

1 - The people at SXSW do NOT represent the majority. In face I would wager they are still closer to the top one percent. We are still the outliers, most people and companies have no idea what social media is about, and many still do not care.

2 - These people were at SXSW because they were curious. They were interested in learning more about social media and how it could improve their marketing efforts and grow their businesses. Being curious about how to use these tools correctly is much more important than how you use the tools. If you are curious, the rest will probably take care of itself.

Case in point, a few months ago, I didn't get much value from Twitter. I just didn't see the value in the service. But I remained curious because I saw how well others were using it. So I kept experimenting and finally changed my usage of the site, and I now find Twitter to be incredibly valuable to me.

Using these tools correctly isn't what counts, remaining curious about the correct way to use these tools is more important. I got to talk to several people at Dell last week, and whenever we discussed their strategy online and how well the company was doing in utilizing social media to communicate with its current and potential customers, they were always quick to add that 'we still have so much to learn'.

As we all do. A sense of curiosity serves you well in these times.

Pic via Flickr user shibby_h


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Anonymous said...

A lot of the time, it simply comes down to just jumping in and floundering around, doesn't it? Maybe that's a new learning style (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Jump-and-Flounder)...

Anonymous said...

It's not too late but companies do need to decide what they want social media to do for them.

Mack Collier said...

Mark many companies already know what they want to do with social media. Make gobs and gobs and gobs of money!!!!!

And usually their initial efforts with these tools are based on this 'what's best for us' mentality. After these efforts predictability fail, they either drop social media as being an 'overhyped fad', or they get smart and decide to use these tools as we do.

Steve case in point, where would Dell be right now if they had decided to completely turn their back on social media after the Dell Hell fiasco? Instead it galvanized the company to do better in this space. And even with that they made errors, but continue to learn, which is all you can ask.

tlwhittle said...

Mack, you are right on with this:
"Using these tools correctly isn't what counts, remaining curious about the correct way to use these tools is more important."

I would go one step further and say out loud (you know what I mean) what I think you are implying...that there are many "correct uses" -- and remaining curious (which I translate as "open") will give you a good shot at figuring out what is correct for *you* -- how you can add and extract value. And because value in this case is increasingly (and maybe completely) about relationships, which by their very nature ebb and flow and have changing needs, then you have to STAY curious so that your social media use is flexible enough to respond and maintain those relationships.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across a post Is it a blog or website? on duct tape marketing that highlighted the emerging value of Wordpress as a web tool. Users are utilizing Wordpress’ capability as a CMS to bypass the technical expertise necessary to build out a quality site.

As an internet marketing consultant I talk to people everyday who are confused and uncertain on how they want to move their business forward in a web 2.0 world. “Should I spend money on a blog or should I consider building a high functioning website? Is there any way that I can bypass doing an SEO project?” The short answer is to be doing all of these things to position your business correctly. Wordpress lets the inexperienced and experienced test the web 2.0 waters without breaking the bank or driving themselves crazy. And now with the emergence of third party developers the sky is the limit on what Wordpress can do.

Web 2.0 is more than just blogs, widgets, social networking and podcast. It has become a mentality and a way of life for the masses that spend a majority of their day connected to the internet. I have personally thrown around and heard web 2.5 and web 3.0. So what are you to do if you just mastered text messaging and the concept of an RSS feed blows your mind? All you have to do is change your way of thinking and web 2.0 will follow.

On February 6, Exclusive Concepts re-launched our webinar series. The event itself was a success, focusing on SEO basics for yahoo stores. However, what was most surprising was the feedback from our audience. Everyone had an opinion and appreciated our follow up. The audience was filled with internet savvy marketers but there were also many first timers. For these first timers our webinar was their first taste of web 2.0 and they loved it and all they had to do was go to

The lesson learned is that we are social creatures; whether we fly across the country to go to a conference or log on to a webinar, we all want to be a part of something. The web 2.0 rookie can now go back to his cohorts and brag about his webinar experience.

Mack Collier said...

Tara that was my point. There's no one right way for everyone to use Twitter, or a best way for everyone to blog. But I think that everyone can find a way that works FOR THEM, if they remain curious.