I just got done reading some unflattering comments in reaction to a Mashable article which provided an interview with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Hsieh’s views were that social media can provide happiness to people and make them feel good. Most folks agreed with this line of thinking, but there were a few dissenters who aired their opinions…on Facebook. Is this not a blatant contradiction to use a social media venue to say “social media can’t make you happy”? It’s making you happy right now because you have a place to air your opinion!
So does social media bring us closer together or further isolate us? I’ve had great success with meeting people all over the world with social media, I’ve had as many as 4 conversations going at one time with potential customers via Google Chat, Twitter, Facebook, phone, or email. In my personal life, I’ve made several great new friends that I have not just tweeted with, but also met face to face and shook their hand. Meeting people face to face is important to me, but those I haven’t yet met face to face are not any less important in my life, I just haven’t made it to see them yet.
I believe that marketers will continue to have to explain that social media is only one way to reach out to people. It’s quickly becoming the best way, but it’s still only one tool. When someone tells me that they haven’t had any success getting people to read their blog, I ask what they’re doing to promote it. They tell me “I’m tweeting about it”, so I look and find that their blog is ALL they are tweeting about…to 28 followers. I’m not frustrated about this because I love analogies and this is my time to make one. I tell them “what you’re doing is like trying to use a screwdriver to pound in a nail: It will get the job done, but it will take forever!” We then have to have the “find your niche/make a plan/engage” conversation. After a little careful planning and making some positive changes, they’re on their way.
This is not just for businesses, folks! This goes for personal blogs, too. Parts of everyone’s life are worth writing about, just find yours. It will make you happy to reach people, and once you’re pounding the nail in with a hammer, social media makes you happy because you are helping and being helped. If it doesn’t, send me a letter telling me I’m wrong.