You have no idea how much you know

I was on the phone yesterday with a student from Columbia U who is doing her Masters thesis on a certain aspect of social media. We were on the phone because we exchanged a bunch of emails and she felt that maybe a call was in order. After 45 minutes of talking about all aspects of social media we were done. I hung up and I thought to myself; “Wow, did all of that just come out of me?”

Let me sum up what I chatted about.

  • I told her people like Scoble and Chris Brogan had devotional followings yet were different in nature and focus.
  • I mentioned that people like Brian Solis offer an interesting take on the landscape that is the ever-evolving moving target of social media.
  • I mentioned that she should check out Naked Conversations as a primer on what the blogging scene is all about and where it came from and where it’s going.
  • We talked about how Twitter is a great way to connect with Rock Stars, A-listers and thought leaders, but can still pull people into your circle that you have no reason why they are there.
  • I told her she should check out Danah Boyd and some of her work on Social media, teens and class divisions
  • We talked about why people do not contribute right away in social networks, though they have joined a community; and that it could be they’re just not completely comfortable yet.
  • As well, different demographics have different comfort levels in embracing new media.
  • We talked about communities and how individuals and brands operate within those communities.
  • I abused the words authentic, transparent, and “real”.
  • I’m pretty sure I did not take a breath.
  • I stressed that Chris Brogan is walking the line that separates saturation and Scoble like status.
  • I told her that Seesmic would be a good way to connect with people in regards to some of her social network questions
  • I’m pretty sure I mentioned David Armano
  • We talked about the goal of brand participators in communites and the challenges they face in trying to connect with their users and customers
  • I forgot to tell her which of my favorite blogs would help her in her research, so here’s the shortlist.


  • Brian Solis– Brian is very giving with his thoughts and observations on social media and PR,
  • Valeria Maltoni– If you want deep, thought provoking takes on all things social and beyond, I highly suggest you add her blog to your list 
  • Adam Cohen-Adam is a new add to my list but I enjoy his take and the variety of his posts
  • Ari Herzog-good writer, good take and his posts are timely.
  • Peter Kim-I’ve been probably been giving Peter too many props lately but man his stuff is so insightful.

So after all that, I sat there and started thinking. My first thought was that earlier in the day, I was explaining social media to a bunch of people in a doctors office. The first question out of their mouth was to ask if it was like an online dating site. Ouch.

Having my little chuckle to myself, my next thought was about what I just verbally spewed out to the grad student from Columbia, who by the way, didn’t know as much as I expected. This gave me pause to ponder what do I know? Was it alot? A little? 

Well, maybe I do know a little about some things but… I do know this. The people that I deal with, and talk with, and share with, and laugh with, everyday in my communities, know a lot. ALOT.  And everyone else outside of these circles or spheres that I float in, just might not. And that’s pretty cool. So I wanna thank you for letting me be a part of that.

6 thoughts on “You have no idea how much you know

  1. Hey Mark,
    Thanks yet again for mentioning my blog among some folks who I consider inspiration, including yourself. It’s feedback like yours which keeps me going and trying to bring a different perspective.

  2. I love how Peter Kim always writes, “Dude” in his responses. That should be his new Twitter handle. Heh.

    Marc, you’re right-on. I was just on the phone myself with a Twitter buddy and we spoke of a lot of virtual connections – people we’ve never met but who provide common value to us and others.

    Thanks for the honorable mention, and I’ll be coming back at you shortly about the letter ‘C’ we discussed.

  3. Mark

    Great post and one I identify with. I’m an amateur. I’m not employed in the tech sector or web 2.0 or any of that, but blogging since 2003, I’ve picked up a few useful things.

    So useful that I think I’m going to quit my job at the end of the month and strike out on my own.

    I’ll optimize and sell ads and help boomers like myself get started with social media. It’s going to be fun.

  4. I was thinking about the name of your blog and inflection – depending on where you put the accent, it may mean different things. Direct Marketing – Observations, Direct – Marketing Observation… you get the idea. Meaning is the in eye of the beholder, or something like that. Thank you for the shout, Marc. I once put “dude” in a post 😉

    All kidding aside, the word authentic is a tricky one to explain. I’m glad you’re taking the time to connect with students. Mentoring and giving back is an admirable thing.

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