Ethan McCarty

Digital strategy | Social business | People-centric biznology

>Don’t buy your own bus: Social media marketing

>I was at a meeting with IBM’s digital agency along with Pauline Ores, who I work with at IBM and she came out with yet another one of her killer analogies. She described the way that many companies are approaching social media is as though they have just heard about the idea of public transportation and so decided to buy everyone a bus. Amazing — this is so true (and often true within organizations as well.) I am sure you are all getting competing invitations to join online “communities” that really aren’t communities at all — they’re more like magazines with passwords. Especially in that they are devoid of the essential ingredient: people interested in helping one another.

On that same point, I am wondering if people from an internal communications/field enablement function are the worst or the best people to lead a company’s charge into the social media space. On the one hand, they typically have a high familiarity with web-based tools. On the other hand, they often see the world as an audience to be reached through a set of channels. Who wants to invite a spammer into their community (or join a spammer’s community.) Afterall, this is why God invented tivo — so we can SKIP the commercials, right? But if these people can shift their perspective to one of service to the audience (as opposed to, say, the short term goals of their own management) then they are the perfect agents for this kind of work. Those publishing skills could come in handy — or as Pauline and I were discussing, what was once spam could turn into a gift, if it’s produced in service to the community as opposed to targeted at an audience.

I am banking on this being possible.

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