How to save yourself a social media headache

As I spend my time teaching local classes and consulting on “Social Media/Social Networking” I give the same advice to people over and over:

Don’t use the term Social Media or Social Networking or Web 2.0 when discussing or planning your strategy.

These are industry buzzwords that mean different things to different people. They don’t quantify exactly what you want to do or what you want your organization to accomplish. Quick – what is web 2.0? I was taking with a lady the other day who thought being able to schedule doctor’s appointment online was web 2.0. No – that is just the doctor providing great customer service. When you say you want to do more social media – quick – how many social media sites are there ? Probably a couple of hundred if not a thousand of them. I am sure you do not want to touch every one of them.

If you want to interact with your audience or provide group communication through some of the larger social media sites then say that. Write that down. Write down exactly the sites you want to use, what the message is, and where you want to drive them. That is much better than making a blanket statement “Our group needs to do more Social Media”.

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Melissa Merrell

Patrick – I completely agree. I’ve been working on a couple different projects that involve social media and web 2.0 components. I’ve found that the discussions and plannig meetings get completely side-tracked into talking about the work value of social media, perceived generational learning gaps, and lack of time to learn new programs.

It’s been much more productive to get everyone verbalize goals such as needing a way (other than email and a shared network drive) to share information and then slowly show them 2.0 tools that fit that need. I’m surprised at how many people still cringe at the word wiki. And twitter – forget about it. = D

Patrick Allmond

We should stay in touch – we are on the same wavelength. I do use twitter – but mainly for local city interaction. Catch me on Facebook and/or LinkedIn if you are interested. Or you can watch me experiment at http://patrickallmond.com .

Melissa Merrell

Absolutely. I just checked out your website and completely agree on #followfriday. Its interesting to see who others are recommending, but I never follow anyone from it. #followforareason is a great idea! Has it caught on?

Patrick Allmond

No… because I have not focused on it that much. I need to set aside time in my schedule for it on Thursday nights. I made that post before I was busy Friday mornings for volunteer work. Then again… if you think about it… I can do it any day of the week. I need to think more 🙂

Joan Elmore-Nutting

I work for a knowledge management center for the govt. My job is to help the work force use the tools at hand to better do their job. I have come across numerous articles but I have that never give up attitude. One by one I am showing them that sametime, wikis and blogs can be valuable tools. We had one organization post a contest for a new grahic for their organization . Everyone blogged about their thoughts then they had a vote. This showed the community a real life lesson on how a blog can be useful. Slowly but surely I am reaching out. I have a lot of patience and its not that I want them to use any one tool to help them accomplish tasks. It is teaching them that the suite of tools are available to them to assist and save them time.