Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cosmopolitan and Social Media

I've made no bones of the fact that I'm on the steep end of the social media learning curve.  I'm absorbing as much as I can and have definitely made some boo boos along the way.  There's lingo, there's timing, there's tweeting...  Whew!

Part of this journey I'm on has led me to subscribe to a bunch of different newsletters: Mashable, Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, Smartbriefs galore, etc.  Here's a sample of some of the titles I've seen recently:
  • 26 Essential Social Media Resources You May Have Missed
  • 5 Tips For Telling Stories With Social Media
  • 13 Skills Social Media Leaders Can't Do Without
  • 5 Ways To Start And Sustain Social Conversations
  • Top 5 Most Indispensable Twitter Tools For Marketers
Truly, I try to read as many of these types of articles as I can because, like I said, I'm on a learning curve.  Thankfully though, some of this stuff is turning into review instead of new information.  But the peer pressure to know everything about everything to be the smartest at everything can be a little crazy making.  For a newbie and/or a perfectionist, there's not enough time in the day to read and absorb the information let alone follow through.

Frankly, it's taking me back to my 20s when Cosmopolitan articles would catch my attention, make me drop everything and pore through every single word because I had to read, absorb and follow every single thing as if my life depended upon it.  Need a sampling of some titles?  Here's what I found when I took a stroll to the Cosmo site:
  • 50 Things To Do With Your Boobs
  • 5 Bizarre Yet Brilliant New Workout Ideas
  • 9 Surprising Birth Control Facts
  • Top 10 Things He Doesn't Want To Hear About Your Ex
  • A Hot New Place To Meet Guys
Interesting parallels between seemingly different types of publications, no?  The point I'm trying to raise here is that it's easy to feel as if we'll never get things 100% right.  It's easy to believe that had we read that one article, we'd be more successful, more influential, smarter, better, faster, have more Twitter followers, have less quitters, have more Facebook page likers, etc.  The paranoia on the way to perfection can be mindblowing.

And, that's where it's easy to miss the point.  It's not what I could be doing to be more attractive to others as a thought leader, as a business, as a consultant, etc.  Those are tactics.  On our journey to keep up with the e-Joneses and be the hottest girl or guy in the room, we forget to look within and understand the core of our being, why we exist and our purpose.  Our purpose translates into strategy.  And strategy translates into tactics.  It's boring to be procedural but it must be done to satisfy our reason for being.  

I've made no secret here nor on the 678 Partners Facebook page that I am a huge fan of Mitch Joel.  A recent post has made that fandom even more intense if possible.  Here's a nugget that I really enjoyed:

"Before jumping into Social Media, ask yourself this one hard (and very serious) question: does my brand fit into the culture of these platforms?  It's a complex question.  It's a cultural thing and sometimes brands think that they do fit when in reality, they're just the old guy standing at the back of the club by the bar waiting for the concert to end so that they can take the kids (who are moshing up front) home.  They're not really invited.  They're not really welcome.  Everyone else there is just tolerating their existence like a necessary evil."

Why do I like this guy so much?  It's because he's calling for calm.  He's calling for us to take a deep breath, look around, assess, analyze and make decisions instead of going willy nilly into a bunch of social media directions.  We don't have to be on every platform.  We don't have to be the (t)wittiest on Twitter.  We don't all have to have whizbangery to make meaningful connections with colleagues and customers.  

We have to know ourselves.  Our core informs our strategy which in turn informs how we engage with others and in what platforms.  Or, in the immortal words of Shakespeare, "To thine ownself be true."


Parissa Behnia
Idea Chef


  1. I am in the same boat Parissa, the sugar is no longer disolving in my glass of water. I have read too many tip lists. The one piece of advice I have not seen is baby steps which I think is going to be critical for those that have not developed a plan for social media. Read a great article recently, Look Ma No Hands: http://bit.ly/cRUylB 78% of the universe jumped into social media, only 41% had a plan. If my math is correct, 68% of the companies out there have no clue re: social media. So I suggest for those just beginning to formulate their plans, go slow, take baby steps because social media takes company resources and does represent a cultural shift if everyone is going to get involved and commit to the plan.

  2. Jim - completely agree and thank you for these great comments. Thank you also for the link! I find it so funny that we promote caution and analysis in everything but social media simply because "everybody is doing it" -- i feel another post coming along!