Enough already. Are we really that social?

We think we’re social. We tweet, chat, connect, link, like, follow, friend, block, unfriend, click. But what are WE actually doing?

Hey look, here’s a new tool that’s going to help you connect and engage and ultimately SELL MORE STUFF!!!  No time to chat? Try our auto chat that chats while you sleep. Now you don’t have to worry about spending time tweeting. Just input the topics you like to Tweet about and it’ll find the stuff and do it for you. No one will even notice you’re not behind the keyboard!!! Great for while you’re on vacation because you won’t have to worry about feeling disconnected from the stream or people wondering where you went. Spans all time zones!

Maybe that’s a bit far. Or maybe not.

Problem is, what does this accomplish? At what point does all this connectivity disconnect us from the reality right before us.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. Just read Are you ready to succeed by Srikumar Rao. In it he talks about the mental chatter going on in our heads. And the mental models we use to create our reality. His point is that these models are only one reality but not necessarily the right one. Another key point was to stop the frantic doing and be more deliberate.

Between the mental chatter and the digital chatter, are you moving the needle, whatever needle that might be?

As a business, are you just creating more noise simply looking to extract more $$ out of your customers pockets more quickly? That’s fine if you’re delivering more value and care about the well-being of your customers. If your customers feel that they received more for their hard earned $ than you took. Allow me to pick on Vegas again and say that I think their sole mission is to maximize dollar extraction velocity. Not sure they get the point about social good.

At what point do we say enough? At what point do we shut down and retreat? Your customers?

As someone responsible for executing marketing programs online and traditional, I spend a lot of time behind the keyboard. I enjoy it immensely and have met some really wonderful people and it’s now spilling over into real life. I wouldn’t want to lose this ability to connect. But I’m also feeling like there’s a lot of empty chatter I have to sift through. Sometimes I want to unplug. Turn it off. Enjoy life in analog.

It makes me think about how and who I connect with. I want to make the connection count for the other person. I want to cut the noise I create. Like putting a catalytic converter on my tweets and a scrubber on those coming through my stream. It makes me think about the messages we send out as a company – to make each one completely relevant to the recipient.

If you’re ready to say enough already yourself:

  • Listen first. Tweet later. But if you’re a company, don’t wait two weeks to respond to a tweet (more on that later).
  • Recognize that everyone’s experience is different. And that their noise tolerances are as well.
  • Cut the spam. It belongs in a can only and I’d argue it doesn’t belong there either.
  • If you matter, people will talk.
  • If you don’t matter. They’ll ignore you.
  • Violate their trust and they’re gone.
  • Don’t be afraid to go deeper. Just be okay with the result.
  • Remember that we’re not all sitting around idly waiting for your next Tweet nor hanging on your every word.
  • Ignore the ‘rules’ about blog post length and frequency. But that doesn’t mean writing The Source. Short, done well, is hard and valuable. Long and sloppy is easy.
  • If you’re not going to use the tools to be social, don’t use them at all. Stick with a faxblast.
  • If you’re annoyed by people reaching out to you unsolicited, think about how they feel about you reaching out to them.
  • Everyone, no matter how altruistic they may be, is acting in their own self interest. You are too.

Know why you want to connect with who you want to connect with. Stick with your vision. You do have one, right? Business doesn’t change as fast as everyone wants you to believe it does. Just the tools everyone’s trying to sell. Get grounded in building something worth talking about. Okay? Enough already!

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