It's been a fascinating weekend for me and Social Media. Leo Laporte announced “Social media, I gave you the best years of my life, but never again.” The Joy Of Tech quickly responded with what might be my favorite comic ever from them.
While this was going on, I found myself engrossed in Seth Godin's Linchpin in a way none of his other books have ever been able to grab me. Whereas the themes are considerably better than the age old “what is social media good for?” question, consider this quote:
“Don’t even get me started on Twitter. There are certainly people who are using it effectively and productively. Some people (a few) are finding that it helps them do the work. But the rest? It’s perfect resistance, because it’s never done. There’s always another tweet to be read and responded to. Which, of course, keeps you from doing the work. Where did your art go while you were tweeting?”
BTW, I was reading Linchpin on my Kindle device – not the iPad, iPhone, or anything else. You'll notice I tweeted a quote once (and then sent the above one this morning) but I found myself engrossed in the act of just reading, … amazing.
Scoble responded to the conversation with a fascinating Tweet: “While what @leolaporte wrote today contains a lot of truth you can only quit once and keep your credibility. That is why I don't quit.”
I did a general look for more on the conversation and found little. Kind of sad actually as there are some really important questions that need to be asked:
- Is social media nothing more than, as Leo put it, “an immense waste of time?“
- Are we just playing this game because everyone else is? Are we all in this because, as Robert put it, “you can only quit once and keep your credibility?”
- Even worse, is this stuff keeping us from “doing the work” as Seth wrote?
I think it comes down to these five simple statements.
- There are very specific, very clear, VERY STRATEGIC reasons to use Social Media. These are not always embraced by the people with the most followers or the book contracts.
- If you are engaged in social media because everyone else it, STOP. That's not enough of a reason.
- If you are afraid to STOP because you are worried about being labeled a quitter, consider the benefits of being labeled SMART – or actually GETTING STUFF DONE.
- Realize that the tool of social media is just that, a TOOL. It can be used to do great things, do stupid things, do GREAT GOOD and do GREAT DAMAGE.
- Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.
If history has taught us anything, it's that it is so easy to hate the things we don't understand. Do you truly understand the social media landscape that you find yourself playing in?
Fun fact – I get asked which Twitter client I use multiple times a week but am only asked a few times a year why I do this whole social media thing.