I’ve discovered a new malady. One that seems to cross socio-economic, age and gender lines. One that is openly discussed during meetings about social media. One that creates an instant bond with other sufferers. One that is kept under the radar during family time or socializing.
It’s called connectile dysfunction.
There are two forms. And neither is better than the other.
The first form is easily diagnosed. It’s the person who seemingly cannot detach from his/her virtual connections for any reason. You see them on the street, in restaurants and at their children’s recitals. Arrival at every venue is worth mentioning on Foursquare. No email can remain unopened because it could contain a link to…well, who knows unless you look! People who previously scoffed at gamers have become farmers and Mafia members on Facebook. They are the ones who forced human resource departments to develop social media policies so actual work gets done during work hours.
The second form is not so easily recognized. These people refuse to get connected. While this isn’t much of an issue on an individual basis it can create real problems for businesses run by affected owners and managers. Customers now expect they will find what they need and want online even if they go offline to actually buy it. Companies that refuse to meet their customers where they are will eventually go out of business even if their Yellow Pages ad is paid through the rest of the year.
I’m sure people don’t see it in themselves. If they could would they spend time online every day even Sunday?
This came back to me full force yesterday at a networking meeting.
The conversation centered around the failure of so many small businesses to utilize social media. There were a lot of reasons but the two most offered were time and fear.
There is absolutely no question that marketing takes time. Marketing is a strategy to make or keep a brand top of mind. It can’t be accomplished without a strategy and ongoing effort.
Many business owners believe they can’t devote time to any type of marketing because they’re so busy working. I get that. Every dentist knows when there’s no drilling there’s no billing. Still there had to be a way to get that person with the aching tooth in the door.
Every entrepreneur is an optimist. You have to be. That’s different from believing your product is so incredibly useful/innovative/time-saving/fill in the blank that people will come rushing to you. Money in hand. Screaming for your product. Without you lifting a finger to promote it.
Another comment was fear. The online world doesn’t support ongoing B2C efforts at least not for long (spam filter anyone?). The online world is C2B©. Customers are in charge here. They search for what they want when they want. If you happen to have what they want when they want it everybody wins! You’re not online? Well somebody wins just not you.
It’s scary to put yourself out there. Have you really considered what would happen if you became extremely successful? It changes your life. Maybe that’s way scarier than commiserating with others who are “doing okay, surviving, keep their heads above water”.
How do we support small business owners to get past these false reasons for not taking advantage of the opportunities of social media?
Primary elections were held yesterday here in Toledo, Ohio. Depending on what you’re reading the turnout was either 12% or 17%. What the hell?
Can’t blame the weather. It was beautiful.
Can’t blame the long list of issues. There were only a handful.
Can’t blame the candidates. They were active in trying to get votes.
Can’t blame access. We even have early voting now so if Tuesday doesn’t work and you forgot to vote absentee you still have opportunities.
Apathy is to blame I hear. Of course it is. It’s a wonderful way of explaining our failure to take responsibility for ourselves and how we fit into the bigger picture of where our local, state and federal governments are going. “It’s not my fault” says the bumper sticker “I didn’t vote for xyz! No you probably didn’t vote at all.
We have to stop accepting this excuse. It should be shameful not to vote instead of a badge of honor for the weary/jaded/cynical/fill in the blank.
There are times when I have not voted in a primary and I believe once a general election. Stuff happens. This rant is not for those who occasionally miss elections.
I believe free speech is the most important of all our rights. But I am getting awfully tired of listening to people who can’t be bothered to use the most potent tactic of that right: Voting.
Caught Web Handed is an article on FOXNews.com’s website detailing how law enforcement is using social media to catch criminals.
Yes some of them make it easy. Stopping on the way out of a crime spree and checking a Facebook page is oh, let’s say hmmm, moronic. Uploading video to Youtube detailing all the loot you picked up. Yeah another real brainiac.
These are frightening situations and under no circumstances am I diminishing the pain and stress these situations cause. But there are bigger fish to catch and social media is making it easier.
It’s a stretch to include email specifically as social media but it can get passed around the internet, mentioned in a Tweet or posted on a blog. Even when it isn’t viral it can be archived until the tenth of never or whenever the sender/receiver needs it.
That’s how they tracked down Faisal Shahzad the man who set the Time Square bomb scare into motion. The VIN was tracked to a teenager in Connecticut who had the car for sale on Craigslist. Mr. Shahzad emailed her and then bought the car.
I’m glad he emailed. It’s how he was caught. It’s also a stark reminder that online there are no casual conversations.
It’s become difficult to find anyone who thinks “No Child Left Behind” turned out well. We expected our kids to become proficient.
The payoff to the school was so important that subjects not on the proficiency tests were dropped from the syllabus. In at least one local high school in Toledo the physics class deleted the chapter on simple machines like pulleys, cranes and wheels. I didn’t know you could learn physics without that!
But, alas, it’s not on the test. Art and music? Why waste time on something so tangential to real learning?
Mark Edmundsen’s piece in the New York Times The Pink Floyd Night School is a reminder that we need to do other things than simply increase our facts base.
Are you learning more and more tactics for your particular niche? Are facts and figures your stock in trade? Is the information you’re sharing with clients findable elsewhere online?
By themselves these tasks are fine. But how are you adding to the knowledge base? That requires original thought. The ability to synthesize unrelated parts of the world. A tremendous amount of looking at things other than your specialty.
Pass the proficiency test and you’ll find clients who need your services. Get a reputation for creative problem solving using your technical skills and clients will find you.