Somehow this holiday season is dragging on interminably. I've had a nasty cold, so it's been an introspective time. I've refrained from blogging, but did manage to renovate my website and also to make a Hub page about approaches to defining brand.
Social media has me in its thrall, and I must admit that Twitter takes up a good deal of my time lately. Not that I'm chattering much, but just going there and clicking on eight or ten links every visit, and spending an hour reading up on the suggestions from my follows. It takes a good while to get a handle on how to use all the information.
I think social media is like a new, seriously tricked-out telephone. People wonder if it's a just a fad, but to me it's clearly no more a passing fancy than the telephone or computer itself. It's here to stay, but how we use this amazing new tool will mature considerably. Right now, we're all just playing in the sandbox; at some point, you want to actually make something of all this shifting sand, all these glittery toys.
While learning about the technology and the huge range of tools available is currently making our heads spin, it's so important to remain firmly glued to the truth that content is king. It's tempting to use the software and apps for their own sake. But until you have something useful to say, all these delightful new megaphones will get you nowhere. Nobody's interested in amplified hot air.
My urge, when considering all this, is to use social media to help really small businesses. The old marketing traditions had seriously eclipsed small enterprises, for whom print advertising was not only prohibitively expensive, but ineffectual as well. With online social media, small businesses can finally gain the respect and following they deserve.
But the most awesome thing is that if a small business uses social media for marketing, that businessperson must be engaged in the meaning and impact of their work in a whole new way. S/he must actively think, research, and respond regarding aspects of the business every day, and be able to enthusiastically live it online. Parallels must be drawn between the business and larger life; compassionate understanding of clientele must guide every communique. So these new tools democratize marketing, and simultaneously demand that we take our work with a deepened seriousness. It's simply not enough anymore to work at something you don't care about. This current technology forces us to find nurturing connections between our human-ness and our work.
The search for authenticity is just beginning.