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In Social Media, wading is okay for amateurs

by Paul Kiser

If you take 100 people to a nice sunny beach a certain percentage will sunbathe and never touch the water, another percentage will get ankle-deep, another group will go waist deep, and so on until you get to the group that is swimming in the water all day until it’s time to go home.

In the ocean we know as Social Media there are some who fear it and avoid it; there are some who will create an account but not even complete their profiles; and there will be some who are very careful who they ‘friend’ or follow, avoiding anyone not vetted. Finally, there are the people who dive in and will connect up with almost anyone who follows or friends them.

Personally, I’m in the latter group.  I try to friend or follow as many as possible.  I do have some standards.  If someone follows me on Twitter I go to their page and check out the posts. If the posts are all ads/commercials then I don’t follow them.  If the posts seem like they are a real person who isn’t desperately trying to sell me something, I follow them.

I certainly respect someone who tries to limit her or his social connections to people they know because that is within most people’s comfort zone, but it does tell me that the person is not really into the Social Media as a serious participant.

Ironically, people who adopt this limited connection philosophy are sometimes being selected to teach others on how to use the Social Media and this is scary to me.  Think of it this way, who would you rather have teach you how to cook?  A person who lives and breathes food and does it everyday and knows the kitchen like they were born there, or the person who only knows a few recipes, cooks occasionally, and always sticks to the recipes they know.

For people who fear cooking, they may want the less adventurous cook, but for people who need to understand cooking, they need to learn from the person who knows it best.  The same is true for Social Media.

Both intellectually and emotionally, Social Media presents the opportunity to grow and expand, but you have to get all the way in order to reap the benefits.  There may be a person out there in the digital world who has a lead to a great job, or a lead to the customer that could double a company’s business, but the person who limits his or her connections is never going to know about the opportunities missed because they have rejected the person who has the information they need.  Staying in your comfort zone is tidy, but not useful and it makes a person less competitive and less knowledgeable.

So, if your attending a seminar on Social Media and an ‘expert’ tells you to keep to people you know, then that is the sure sign that this person doesn’t understand Social Media.  It also means that the person who selected this ‘expert’ is afraid of Social Media and was looking for someone to justify her or his fear of it.

What should you do in this situation?  Just smile at them and then tweet me ASAP.  I want to know who is serving up snake oil.

Paul Kiser - CEO of Enterprise Technologies, inc.

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