On Social Media Tools, Noise, and Experience

I was driving through the Florida Everglades last week when I thought, “How in the hell does someone survive and get around out here in this vast expanse of nothingness?”  Which made me immediately draw a relation to the water that surrounds the glades being the internet so to speak, and the wispy reeds of sea grass or whatever the hell it is, being your customers or users of the internet.  I then thought, “There’s a lot of noise out there now, was it, or is it now because of social media?  Did social media create the noise?”  Is social responsible for this?

The short answer is yes.

Remember Dr. Seuss’s, “Horton Hears a Who?”  There’s a scene in the movie and in the book, where everyone in Whoville starts to shout in unison, “We are here, we are here”. They are trying to get Horton to hear them.  Social media is like that.  The plethora of platforms and devices has allowed everyone to have that voice, but the challenge for those with voices wanting to be heard, is the choices and platforms are multiplying like rabbits.  For those businesses who want to bridge the gap and find those people with voices-it’s getting harder and harder to sift through the weeds and grass.

In the Everglades, you get around by airboat, which amazes me honestly.  Why?  Everything looks the same.  If you look to your left or to your right, or forwards or backwards, it all looks exactly the same.  So how does one get around?  You have to have an experienced navigator.  Someone who knows the lay of the land.

Here’s the correlation.  I can use the best listening tools and platforms there are, but if I don’t know how to use them or I use them the wrong way, they are totally worthless to me.  I’m going to airboat around the glades and find lots of nothing.  If someone thinks they know how or knows what I want and they still get it wrong-Shame on me.  Does that mean there’s too much noise and one cannot navigate through it?  Does that mean there are no pockets of goodness in that vast landscape?  Not at all.  You just have to know someone who knows how to look and where to look.

A friend of mine, Mack Collier, earlier this month wrote a blog post on whether marketers should use social media personally before they use it professionally? I think we know the short answer again to that is yes. But I will end on this.

Just because you can get the boat in the water, start the engine and take off, doesn’t mean you know where you’re going or how to get there.

The “other” types of social media users

This is such a transcendent time isn’t it? I’ve been thinking a lot about how people use social networks and why. We have talked a lot about digital natives, immigrants, early adopters, lurkers and what not, but there is another group I’ve been tinkering with that I can easily add to the mix.


The newbie in social media might think, and somewhat accurately I might add, that it’s easy to just dive right into social and worry about the big stuff later. True, you can, but I like to categorize those people as the one’s who leap before looking. They’ll join any and all social networks that they can. By the time they stop to worry about the little things, there will be bigger stuff on top of the big stuff and they’ll gravitate towards that.


Then there are those that might look before leaping but don’t really know where they are landing. They are flying blind into social media. They’re excited. They’re not even taking the time to learn, but that’s not really a concern. They’re just happy to be here. They learned just enough to be dangerous. Like how to upload and share photos. They are a critical component to the success of social media-they will share the coolness of it all with others.


Some do manage to land after leaping but then they don’t know where they are. Those are the one’s who join a social network without really vetting the users of that group. It just seemed like a cool network to join; Or a cool tool to use, or a good idea at the time. They created a profile and started to interact before realizing that this group is not really for them. There are a lot of people that fall into this category. The good news? They liked their initial experience. Eventually there will be a tribe for all of them.


Still others leap and never land-To me those people are not really into it for the right reasons; they are the marketers, agencies, advertisers and companies that are trying to capitalize on all the buzz that they’re hearing. They will create a profile, add a link, and not much more; they’ll think that’s sufficient to get it done- -they’ll soon move on to the new shiny thing. Those people will shortly be touting how brilliant and cool Augmented Reality is.


There is of course those that might land but they don’t really care if they do-they are the ones who will test drive, use the networks a bit and move on, declaring that social networks don’t work. They don’t give it a chance. They are not really engaging-or don’t understand the level of engagement needed to be successful. Those are the Tirekickers. They might be useful as beta testers and not much more. If they decided to stay around longer than a month.

What other types of users are there that I could add to this?