(Self disclosure: I’m an early adopter, a trailblazer. Of technology, ideas, scientific advances, books, new iPhone apps, etc. I like experimenting with new things. Ice cream would be an exception: I prefer vanilla or chocolate.)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from people in several different professions that personally dislike social media (a.k.a. the internet). They infer and sometimes flat out say that Facebook is evil, Twitter is a waste of time, and, “what the hell is Viddy anyway?” They lament the fact that they have to use text messages or Facebook to keep in touch with their friends and children. While some admit that they see the usefulness for their business, organization or clients, they don’t like using these tools themselves.
Personally, I don’t think social media (a.k.a. the internet) is evil. Nor do I think it sad that I can communicate with my family and friends by using the tools and technology that are available to me in 2012. I use Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, Blogs, Words with Friends, Viddy, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn to engage and build relationships with family, friends, professional contacts, and potential clients. I use each one in a slightly different way depending on who I perceive as my audience. And I’m much closer and have meaningful interactions with many more people in 2012 than I did in 1990 when all I had was a phone call or letter.
What do I think about social media (a.k.a. the internet) as a tool? Here’s an analogy:
Say I was a person who digs holes for a living and I was trying to get you to hire me to dig some holes so you could put up a fence. Of course there are many other people in the area who also dig holes for a living: some full-time, some part-time. There are even some posthole digging consultants, but you don’t have the time, nor can you afford their exorbitant consulting fees. You have to figure out which person to choose to do the actual digging for you.
As you start doing reference checks, you get online and see a few posts on my blog that suggest I’m not all that excited about the posthole digger I use. “As a tool,” I complain, “it’s hard to use, it gives me blisters, and by the end of the day my back is killing me. Damn evil thing.” It’s clear that I only use the posthole digger because I have to and would rather you just call someone else. Then you read comments from another person who just adores her posthole digger. She’s even posted photos and videos of her using it, enjoying it, and taking care of it. You read a blog post (or several) she wrote explaining to her readers how they can get their own posthole digger and learn how to use it better and more efficiently. Plus, there are comments from her customers that say just how much she seemed to like and embrace her tool when she dug holes for them.
Who do you think you would choose?
News bulletin: social media (a.k.a. the internet) is here to stay. I think it’s best to embrace it, figure it out, play with it, and plant some posts. That’s the only way you’re going to make it work for you and your family, clients, customers, members, and donors.
Do you embrace the posthole digger? Or does it look too much like work for you?