[David Strom's Web Informant] February 11, 2011: How to suck at social media

David Strom david at strom.com
Fri Feb 11 15:51:28 EST 2011

How to suck at social media

I have a confession to make: I suck at social media. Yes, your humble
servant (maybe that is one reason why) who advises thousands of IT
workers how to implement the fanciest technologies can't do squat when
it comes to FaceTwitLinkbooking. Or whatever.

Yes, I have a blog, and a Twitter account, and do all sorts of stuff
on LinkedIn and Facebook. And I have even learned how to tie them
together, so one blog post proliferates the Twitterverse et naseum.
But I fail when it comes to something that is so basic, so un-tech, so
easy, that is almost embarrassing.

I am not a good listener.

I realized this the other day when I was interviewing one of Dell's
big honchos in social media, who was talking about how he (and by
extension, the greater Dell) has become better at listening. To social
media. And interacting with its customers.

By and large, I don't interact with my readers. Yes, I get some
emails, Tweets, comments on my blogs and Facebook and other messages.
Sometimes I respond, if they ask me a direct question that has a
reasonable answer. (Unreasonable question: I am doing a report for my
class on firewalls, can you tell me how to evaluate their features?
Yup, I sure can: go find some other sap.)

But most of the time, I don't really listen. Sure, I do a lot of
listening when I am on the phone with a source, typing madly as I try
to record for posterity their words of wisdom for all ITkind. But that
is a very selective form of listening, reserved for when I am doing
the research phase of whatever it is that I am assigned to write that
particular day or week.

I even subscribe to a few different email listservs, that traditional
form of group grope before we got that kid from Harvard unbelievably
rich (and on stock options that he can't even sell for real hard cash
money either). But do I post and engage the audiences there? Nope:
most of the time, I just lurk and read whatever is going down on the
'boards (dating myself here, I know).

Sure, I tune in to the Twitstream and check my Facebook wall to see
what is happening. And sometimes I even scroll down a few screens to
see what my peeps are up to. But that isn't what this social media
thing is all about.

At a lecture today by another professional speaker, he spoke about how
he uses Facebook for positioning – meaning he lets his
followers/friends know what he is working on. I usually don't do that
– if you look at my posts, they are links to when the articles and
other good stuff that I have produced is actually in a finished state.
By then, the listening room has moved on to something else.

So my moral for today is this: spend some time listening to your
clients, customers, partners, colleagues.

Okay, time to practice (a little) of what I am preaching. What do you
want me to write about next week? I am all ears.

More information about the WebInformant mailing list