"Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing." Goethe
You know that guy that when he first discovers a new band he likes, he goes nuts and has to play their music for everyone? The minute you walk into his house, he sits you down for a short speech followed by a reverent listening of a new favorite group. Fill in the blank with anything people are passionate about...food, motorcycles, shoes(for the ladies!).
Well, time to fess up. I was that guy with social media. Thanks to a dynamic, passionate presentation by Geoff Livingston over a year ago, I was instantly hooked. I couldn't wait to sign up for every site that was out there. I couldn't wait to tell co-workers, friends, family and the guy at the bus stop about how Twitter and Facebook were going to absolutely change their life, absolutely. As laid out in Geoff's book Now is Gone, the world of communication had changed forever - especially in the areas of public relations and corporate communications. Geoff was right, and I'm really glad I was able to be exposed to the shift in thought, but...
The mistake I made was in becoming that guy, the over-excited guy. That excitement led to some great opportunities for speaking, meeting great new people, and a complete 180 in how I view the job of public relations. Plenty of good came of it.
So, where am I know? Per the title of this post, I am still "good friends" with social media. For a time, I'd considered jettisoning my various social media outlets. Following evaluation, I realized this was a bit strong, and instead chose to re-evaluate my usage and goals for each tool. As a metaphor, I needed to make sure I wasn't using my house key to try to start my car.
I see social media as an incredibly valuable tool for organizations, if used correctly. The tools are not the answer, in and of themselves. Companies used to desperately need a web site, but they weren't sure why. Today, companies want a social media presence, but they aren't sure why. It's up to the experts and the willing individuals with an organization's leadership to take the next step.
There's no denying, the use of these tools can be great fun. It's fun in the same way that any great social gathering can be. So, dig in, have fun. But be careful not to become that guy. Social media is a new, great thing, but it will soon find it's place among the other tools of the trade.
What's your take?
Photo Gracias: That's me fist-bumping my computer. Har-har.