While watching a video today by @garyvee today I was both validated and also inspired to write this post. Gary’s point was simple – if you want to get anywhere using social media to promote something, you have to grab it. You have to engage the people who can make a difference for whatever it is you’re interested in doing. This could be anything from getting a job at a certain company or getting a certain celebrity to wear a product you are marketing. I want to add to what Gary said in his video. We have to understand as a people that the opportunity to network has never been greater in our lifetimes and it is not only possible but it is likely that this window will diminish in the near future. I believe there are two reasons for this and I will get into both of them a little more in depth.
Reason #1 it’s the Economy
A bad economy gives you access to people in an unprecedented way. Case in point – I formed a business group in early 2009 called 1 Degree, several of the members of this group are simply people that would not have joined a group like this had their businesses been running at the typical brisk pace they had been just about every year prior. When you lose your job or customers to a bad economy, you get creative, you put yourself out there. Networking has never been more prolific than it is today, in a good way.
Reason #2 it’s the Technology
Every “new” technology is given a pass on many issues early on. Think back to the chain letters that seemingly reasonable people would forward in the early days of Email. These same people today would not even think twice about it. Or how about the early success of the Email SPAM industry, had it not worked so well people would not have continued to do it. SPAM has to be facilitated today on a huge scale to have any impact. Social networking is really no different from this. Today many people are using geo-tagging software that in essence tells the world where they are at a given moment in time. At some point in the future there will be high profile events that remind people that some privacy is a good thing and these technologies will be used much more sparingly. Or how about the prolific Facebook application posts that are already a bit of a taboo? I’ve seen a number of people create brand new accounts to avoid annoying their real life friends from the prolific wall posts of the latest Zynga game or similar Facebook application. Or how about the “50 things you don’t know about me” it’s a bit like the Facebook equivalent of a chain letter – tag 10 of your friends and post this on your wall.
So Gary is right, but we need to also encourage people to strike while the iron is hot and be prepared for the next stage of this ever evolving world. 15 years ago I forged relationships on Internet Relay Chat with a bunch of people around the US and the World that were Windows NT administrators. The dealings of this group have included quite a bit of commerce over the years and the core is all still communicating with one another. Today similar relationships are being established on Facebook, Twitter and other Social Networking related sites. There will be winners and losers but the people who do as Gary has suggested will find a way to win regardless of the circumstances. I think we all need to evaluate which technologies fit us best and pursue them for personal or commercial benefit. For me the value of the medium is much greater in terms of personal satisfaction for the friendships and inspiration but it’s nice to know that these efforts will continue to open doors for commerce. Let me know what you think. Share your story, plenty of room for your comments here.