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Time to view social media differently

Last night I could not help but pause and think after every sentence of Peter Kim’s most recent blog post. Even more compelling were the comments that followed. I’d suggest you read it.  Because of this and because I had been thinking that it was time to change the way I viewed and written about what I have experienced in marketing and social media marketing, I have decided to turn it upside down.

I want you to start thinking like that now. Instead of repeating everything that you read and just slapping a new title on it and linking to everyone else. Give me your thoughts with perhaps just one or two links. Forget about link juice for a minute and write what you really think about Twitter- Does Twitter piss you off? Are you tired of bullshit tweets? Well tell me. Don’t like what Chris Brogan says? Then say it.  I’m not asking you to completely look for the flaws and problems in everyone and everything, I’m asking you to step outside of that and look at things from 3 feet instead of  30,000 feet, and then give me your real thoughts and your perspective. If I’m full of it? Fine, tell me why, and if it makes sense then I will adjust.

It’s time for our discussions and our thoughts to be elevated. I would think that now might be a really opportune time for fresh thinking, what do you think? And for the record, Peter I may be echoing what you have just written but the more people that can spread that sentiment of less echo and more thought, the better.

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13 Responses to “Time to view social media differently”


  1. 1 Peter Kim January 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Marc – I don’t consider this “echo” at all. This is so wholly authentic and personal – that’s critical. The points that jump off the screen at me:

    – Forget about link juice
    – It’s not being critical for criticism’s sake
    – Real thoughts and perspective
    – Fresh thinking

    Let’s do it.

  2. 2 usegraymatter January 15, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Well, Mr. Kim just gave you the “you nailed it” comment, using more words, of course.

    I’ve been following this “transform/think differently” discussion and what I can’t figure out is who you all are so fed up with…

    I mean…”real thoughts and perspective…” what do you think the rest of us are doing out here every day? If I talk about twitter to “my community” on my blog, that’s not perspective? It’s echo? Maybe it’s not fresh to you, but it is to some of them. I thought this was about building community. Has that changed? I didn’t get the memo if it did.

    While you guys are busy working on viewing social media differently, I guess I’ll just have to hang back here and keep working at trying to get my clients to view social media AT ALL.

    And when they do, I hope to welcome them in so I can hear their “real thoughts and perspectives” rather than berate them for “echoing” what I already understand.

    Mr. Meyer, you say:
    “I want to take everything and look at it from the standpoint of…
    Why is this great?
    How can it be better?
    Why doesn’t it work the way it should?
    Is what we are doing enough?”

    I do that EVERY DAY in my business. Whether it’s an online project or an old-fashioned one (like a print ad). What on earth makes this a new way of thinking? I’m insulted that you imply these questions haven’t occurred to the rest of us.

    You go on to say:
    “Is it an echo? It is for the people that are really close to this. That’s why we’re sick of this…”

    What? You poor, poor people. On behalf of ReTweeters everywhere I apologize for sharing your links or taking one of your thoughts in a different direction in a post. And please do forgive me for any links back to your work. I don’t know what I was thinking. (Though, according to this topic of discussion, I wasn’t.)

    I wish you guys would “get done” with all the navel gazing so we can all get back to building communities “together” without demeaning or alienating others.

    It’s as if the idea of making something better has just been put on the table. It hasn’t. But you’ve already asked me to sit somewhere else.

    You know, this comment may be read as angry. I don’t mean to sound angry at all. I’m just feeling a little fed up, too. Just not over the same thing you are. You know, I actually think that more than anything, I’m just hurt! I’m running into all of this with more enthusiasm than I ever knew I had – arms wide open, big smile – and I’m being met with the inevitable reality that, this, like any other community eventually needs someone to kick around.

    Well, I won’t have any of that in mine. So if you’ve been dismissed by the “thought leaders,” stop on by. I’ll be there. Arms wide open. Smiling. And ready to hear your thoughts and perspective. EVEN, if I’ve heard them before.

  3. 3 marc meyer January 15, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Great POV’s. And I completely respect them. Let me address some of them.

    -We’re fed up with people coming into the game late and repeating what they hear. Nothing new, no original thought. They then go out and call themselves consultants or bloggers and feed n00bs so much “bad” info, that we spend more time defusing what they “thought”.

    -I spend as much time as you do educating clients and prospects on what is reality in social media versus what they might have heard. It’s a challenge, no doubt and some get it and still others never will.

    -I guarantee that the people that I refer to or Peter does, know exactly who they are. They know they are not fooling anyone and they will continue to cut and paste, rinse and repeat.

    -I know you know what I’m talking about, or maybe you really don’t but it’s true. The echo may be diluting the message for those new to the game. The point is, there is just so many ways we can talk about social media. It’s any easy target and even easier to write about should someone choose. There’s more to it.

    -Our enthusiasm is just as much as yours but the space is getting crowded with some things we’ve already talked about and talked about etc etc…

    -For some of us we want to take it further. I believe you do too.

    Lastly, I’m very very glad that you brought your opinion and thoughts to this conversation. My thoughts are not perfect but they are mine and yours are yours. That’s what makes this space so great. Original thought….

  4. 4 usegraymatter January 15, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Well, I’ve got more original thought. Sorry. I can’t help it.

    I respect the diplomacy of your well-crafted reply. You will far outshine me there every time. When I feel strongly about something, my diplomacy is the first thing that runs from the room.

    Clearly, I truly don’t know who these people are that you speak of…but that doesn’t really matter to me.

    This is no different than ANYTHING else that comes along. A friend of mine quoted Yogi Bera to me today: “That place is too popular. Nobody goes there anymore!”
    It’s as if you’re suggesting that social media was only “fresh” when there weren’t so many of us in it. Isn’t the whole point of building community to include more people. You realize that’s going to mean ALL kinds of people. The spammers. The get-rich-quickers. The “echoers.” Did you think they wouldn’t come?

    Social media is not a panacea. It’s people. Doing what people do in every community. It’s why there’s office politics. It’s why there are high school cliques. It’s why there is classism, elitism, racism, and every other -ism. It’s just what people do.

    And with all due respect, there are going to be A LOT more people coming to the game. So if you guys are fed up now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    You say, “The echo may be diluting the message for those new to the game.”

    Give the thinkers out here a little credit, eh? I’ve managed to parse my way through the echo just fine. I’ve found great people out here. Supportive, helpful, inclusive people. And while I work at “taking it further” (no matter how that scales for me) I want to be careful not to take myself too seriously. Something I hope that comes through in my writing.

    Again. You both have my utmost respect. But this conversation is causing many to ask if we have yours.

  5. 5 simonsalt January 15, 2009 at 4:16 am

    What I love most about this comment Marc is “those who came late to the game.”
    What exactly do you mean by that? Late to the game? How long have you been in the “game” and exactly which element of the game. I have been in computing since the days of punch cards, when coders didn’t even see the machine they were coding on. Or do you mean Social Media, because Social Media isn’t new either, people have been being social online since before the Internet, oh yes wait I was there too, Bulletin Board Admin – yep did that. So lets figure out who is new here and who is repeating who shall we.
    When you start pointing fingers you always end up pointing three back at yourself. I couldn’t agree more with usegraymatter when they talk about building community. But even that concept isn’t new. Online communities have existed for a long time and will go on way beyond what we have now. What happens next year when the tech changes again, and the early adopters freeze you out because you aren’t there on launch day to call yourself an expert? I agree there are charlatans out there who will sell snake oil to the masses in the hope of making a buck, I also agree that it is annoying having to undo their work and sometimes frustrating trying to win the trust of those who have had their fingers burned by them but simply saying to people – Stop talking about Twitter on your blog, stop retweeting Twitter How-To’s isn’t part of the solution. What will combat that is building solid communities and welcoming everyone who is trying to promote and further the great opportunities that Social Media presents to all of us.

  6. 6 marc meyer January 15, 2009 at 11:43 am

    @usedgraymatter

    Again all valid points. Communities are a great thing, warts and all? Your passion exceeds your opinion. It shows. Your clients should be glad that you have their back. My clients will have to settle for the diplomatic cynic 🙂

  7. 7 marc meyer January 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

    @Simon I’m impressed with your background, you bring perspective. I agree about your point about communities however, you say, “everyone” who is trying to promote and further the great opps. that social media presents…I never said I had a problem with them and I never said I had a problem with communities. I have a problem with people that are in the “game” because it’s the sexy thing to do right now. They haven’t been doing it very long and it shows in their blog posts, in their tweets and in their ignorance. I’ve been doing “this” for awhile as well. That’s not my point. I’m just as willing as anyone to focus on community but ignoring the guy over in the corner trying to sell the “snake oil” doesn’t do us any good does it?

  8. 8 simonsalt January 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Marc
    IMHO ignoring them is exactly what we should do. To acknowledge them gives credence to the snake oil. But first we have to establish what is “snake oil”. Because Peter’s article was about the echo chamber. Now if I were a new guy and I wanted to get into this biz and make a buck while a buck was there to be made, I’d make damn sure I was repeating what people like Brogan, Kawasaki,Kim,You, and anybody else that seemed to have a following was saying, because then at least I seem to know what I am talking about. The peeps to watch are the ones who aren’t saying what everyone else is saying. Because they take more work to distill, analyze and retest. As much as SM is not science, when someone expounds a new theory we should treat it the same way the scientific community does, repeat the experiment and see if we can achieve the same result – they funnily enough don’t consider that an echo chamber, they consider that establishing empirical evidence. Those of that can do this as consultants have nothing to fear from the snake oil salesmen. Will some individuals get their fingers burned – absolutely, in fact I met a potential client yesterday at a presentation I was giving who had been burned by a so called “WordPress Expert”. But for the most part the buyers are more sophisticated now, isn’t that, after all the point of SM, it gives the buyers greater transparency. Ignore the Snake Oil salesmen and lets focus on education. Heck if we all stop writing blog articles about the echo chamber and start writing articles on how to do the next steps in SM maybe the echo will dwindle?

  9. 9 marc meyer January 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    @I see your point Simon. What I am starting to realize and this does go back to my point about being to close to the subject or topic is that there are n00bs every day that are entering the sandbox and I can’t dismiss them for their lack of knowing. I also can’t dismiss them if they choose to become an instant evangelist. I suppose what I’m saying and Peter is as well, is that I grow weary of seeing the same article or post on the same topic with no new perspective, that’s the echo. I know you get that and I understand that we need to write new articles about how to take SM to the next level-That’s what I’ve been saying all along. My point was really about challenging myself to reach further and to refrain “myself” from creating more reverb.

  10. 10 Michelle Kostya January 15, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I am a blogger, I write posts about a variety of things including social media. I don’t sell snake oil – or anything for that matter. Just a personal blog of my experiences LEARNING about social media. I talk about my favourite tools, how I use them etc. I also talk about being a mom. My readers are from a variety of places – but almost all are beginners or mom bloggers themselves. They, like me are behind – and could be called the “echo” I suppose. Does that make me a bad blogger? Unnecessary? I don’t think so. Personally, I find some folks who have been at it write obscurely, using buzz words I don’t yet know. Or, because I am not as knowledgeable as their base audience I am nervous to respond, comment or question them. I feel more comfortable in my own community of “new” folks. I believe my blog community is the same. They are comfortable at my level. Nothing wrong with that. There are going to be a lot of new folks talking about “social media” and I think they will be smart enough to sort through the noise and find the information they are looking for.
    Many of my readers (less than you have of course, but still a decent following!) have thanked me for my posts, and have appreciated the easy manner in which I write. One reader wanted to know about how I use Google Analytics – so for her I started a 101 Series on it. I believe I help these folks, just as I journey and learn more!

  11. 11 Mark Juleen January 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Marc-

    I think the problem is that the Social Media consultants out there spend so much time talking about “theory” of social media. This post is actually a perfect example. Why all the controversy? It’s all just the evolution of communicating. Cavemen wrote on walls, town criers shouted, then there is mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, tv, cell phones, email, instant messaging, text messages, blackberries, social media, video conferencing, twitter, etc., etc., etc.

    It continues to evolve, and there always have been and always will be early adopters and late bloomers for new communication platforms. Why does that even matter? What matters is how you apply the technology. No client really cares about the theory behind it, what they care about is that the application gets a return on their investment. Theory will just keep spinning you in circles. Why isn’t there more conversation about actual application for businesses instead of discussing the theory of how different tools are best utilized. In a social media nerd’s world that’s fun for awhile, but it’s no surprise you are becoming disenchanted with it.

    My latest post takes a quote from the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. Wayne was once asked, “How are you such a great hockey player?” He responded, “I skate where the puck is going to be.” If you’re going to change it up and do it different go for it Marc! While everyone else is chasing the puck that is SM today, I’d like to see you anticipate where the puck that is SM of tomorrow is going to be.


  1. 1 Time to view social media differently « Direct Marketing Observations | greatestinsidersecrets Trackback on January 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm
  2. 2 5 life lessons I learned from social media this week « Direct Marketing Observations Trackback on January 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm
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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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