dispatches from the new world of work
An Amateur's View of Social Media
Circa May 2010
On the evening of May 26, I made my first "presentation" (an informal talk) on social media. The affair, called "Sweets & Tweets," was held in Georgetown and hosted by corporate social media consultant Debbie Weil. I participate in social media somewhat myself, but in no way, shape, or form am an expert. Moreover, I did not spend an enormous amount of time preparing—the talk was intended to be "off the cuff." But with my obsessive penchant for lists (ah, engineers), I did jot a few things down which I shall simply call "musings from an incredibly old guy and unadulterated amateur" on social media:
- Social media is not new. SM writ large is LITERALLY what makes us human!!!! Ape brains grew to accommodate socializing skills; aborigines and "songlines;" people trade refrigerators in for radios; etc.
- But "modern" social media does change everything: Matt Ridley's new Rational Optimism: How Prosperity Evolves; prosperity (more or less in its entirety) comes from trading-connections (leads to inventions, econ growth); today's SM is wildly accelerating connections (crowdsourcing, etc., etc.)
- FYI: SM changed my life. Blogging turned out to be the best marketing tool ever—based on giving away "everything"/90% of intellectual capital, etc. And Twitter caught me totally by surprise—my compulsion for, and emerging benefits of.
- I do SM for ONE reason: fun! (Fun makes it loose, social, inclusive—and hence personal and professional ties grow.)
- SM does not relationships make. Part of the game, to be sure, and "intimate" (professional) ties can arise. But, at least for now, pubs, dinners, clubs, bars, body language are imperative.
- SM is an end in itself. We are simply discovering new ways of interacting—which is, as noted, "everything."
- SM is not an end in itself. For me, Steve Jobs, etc. For most of us there's gotta be a great there there: iPad, iPhone, BMW, Cirque du Soleil, speeches (for me).
- It appears that brand new organizational forms are arising—"emergent leadership" at Cisco, etc. The nature of implementation of pretty much everything is changing.
- Da basics are the basics, always were, always will be. "Thank you." Decency. Thoughtfulness. Integrity. Etc.
- Beware "sexy." Napoleon: The simple is the best, and most failure (on the battlefield) comes from generals trying to be "clever."
- SM is the ultimate EXPERIMENTAL medium ever. Change. Adjust. Fail. Try again. And again. (On large scale, Google's the master.)
- Beware of learning too much from others. Michael Schrage: innovation from "serious play." Gotta try your own combinations, not copy others.
- Beware hanging out with too many social media peers. Hyping each other and getting caught up in "SM is all there is" is a deadly sin!
- Consider differences: Women and men process differently, socialize differently. (Women around the world are the biggest market, taking over in general, especially among the young/youngish. In developed countries, older/old folks are the most incredible market (size, $$$) in history—and old are surprisingly vigorous SM/Internet users.
- Consider differences: Most businesses are small businesses doing "ordinary" things—how can we help them?
- Bonus/redux: This is a hoot! Enjoy!
Tom Peters posted this on 05/28/10.