Originally posted to the ChatterBachs blog: “How social media is like a royal marrying a commoner”
So, Prince William of Wales is marrying Kate Middleton, a commoner.
My how his life has changed from that of his forebears. No, William
didn’t look out over the fair (and royal) maidens the world over and
select a suitable bride. No, he went to university (Americans would say
they went to college, even if it was to a university, but it sounds so
much more British to say “went to university”), studied, had a fairly
normal life, and met people- including fair Kate, the heroine of our
modern fairy tale.
Similarly, social media is out and amongst the people. It doesn’t look down on them, thinking that it knows best. Social media
media fosters equality. It represents the ultimate in a democratic
process as a given voice can be heard and then amplified. Sometimes
that voice starts as a whisper but increases in influence and gains
volume as it resonates forward from follower to follower. Ideas or
arguments without merit are successfully countered- or worse- simply
ignored, and/or fade away into a vast wasteland on the internet.
It doesn’t look down on them, thinking that it knows best. Social
Social media is about connecting. It’s about connecting across geography, across disciplines, across organizational
structures, and across any boundaries that might typically limit or
screen access. It’s about small ideas becoming large. Social media is
about immediate and timely feedback… no waiting until the next meeting
or annual conference. People are on the internet every day talking
about issues related to your company, industry, and position. Are you
asking questions of it? Are you hungering for more insights? Social
media can be surveys and polls and focus groups but without surveys and
polls and focus groups, if you just know what to listen for.
Social media is listening… and then talking. Social media is dialogue. What falls on deaf ears in the community known as
social media are self-promotion and pushing one’s agenda too strongly.
We all have objectives, areas of expertise, audiences we’d like to
connect with, and accomplishments we’d like to be known for. But if
that’s all you’re doing in social media, you will probably accomplish
very little in this space. So… Ask good questions. Help others to accomplish their objectives. Be a resource. Be a facilitator. You’ll be amazed at how often you are then asked about you or recognized in some manner.
It used to be that companies and organizations issued edicts from ivory towers. They would send out their Madison Avenue messages and
expect the masses to simply obey their directives. Those days are
gone. It’s another revolution, but it’s on an international scale, at
an organizational level, and without the violence. Remember the
rallying cry of “Taxation without Representation”, now it could be
“Marketing without Representation” or “Communications without
Representation” or “Public Relations without Representation”. People
want a voice; they want to give input on and to companies and agencies
about products and services. And they have a voice now with social media. The question is… are you listening?