There has been a fascinating set of responses in email groups to my first post on this topic, and I sincerely respect and appreciate all comments and the time taken to make them. Here is a response for everything I’ve read here so far.
I’m seeing the exact same sort of sentiment from MV people that we saw in the 90’s about email, about web sites, and more recently about mobile phones – “I don’t like it, therefore I won’t use it.”
As an aside, you folks aren’t alone. I’ve been working with my high school alumni group to expand beyond their web page and email list (at least they have these) to use social media to contact more alumni. But being that many of them graduated high school 30 to 60 years ago, the alumni board is reluctant to use the new media. They also are citing senseless jabber and a waste of time, and privacy issues, as reasons why they don’t want to use social media.
No, you see where that gets us every time. This week it’s “social media”, an adolescent paradigm that’s fraught with problems. Lately it’s also been about “the cloud”, and “what happens if they lose my data?”. In the 90’s it was “the internet” in general.
The point people miss is that other people ARE using these services, so putting personal sentiment aside, you (and my aging group of fellow alumni) should consider it too.
Look beyond what YOU personally like, and look to what a significant percentage of the world’s population is doing. Your personal evaluation of a technical, marketing, or communications “device” should not influence your decision about whether that medium has value to your business, which is an entity separate from yourself.
You might like the feel of a weekend newspaper in your hands (and abhor the use of book readers like Kindle or Nook), but as a business person you recognize that you won’t get many responses there if you post a local help-wanted ad. So despite the “wild west” nature of the internet, and all of the senseless games and nasty pictures out here, you use still this medium to strategically post your ads in places where you are most likely to attract the right talent. That’s because you know that even if You don’t look for jobs or other information on the internet, other people do. Proper use of social media is absolutely no different.
When I suggest you use Twitter, I’m not suggesting you pull out your mobile device to tweet your thoughts about the guy who just stole your parking space. I’m suggesting some of you can use Twitter to broadcast high-level news and increase your brand awareness, while others can use it to exchange lower-level information with colleagues.
Similarly, I’m not talking about using Facebook to broadcast your religious or political views – or to go read the views of others. I’m talking about creating a Facebook presence for those who choose to get their business information in that medium. My Facebook page is only available to my close friends and family. I don’t post business content there, I don’t invite anyone from my business circles to “friend” me, and if I had a business presence on Facebook I would not bother my colleagues or clients with personal views or anything non-business related. If some of you folks actually look at business pages you’ll see that they are very different from the personal pages frequented by your family.
It’s not which one, ultimately you should consider all of them.
What’s funny so far, is that some people are saying Twitter is OK, but they avoid Facebook and LinkedIn. Others are saying LinkedIn is OK but they avoid Twitter. Etc etc. This is a message you should internalize.
Some people like one service and completely avoid the others. Over many years people continue to debate whether “forums” should be based in email lists, browsers, Usenet, Google Groups, Yahoo, or elsewhere. Everyone has a preference for one and a strong aversion to others. Your message will get to some people in one service and you’ll completely miss other people who intentionally avoid that service. Is your message less valid because you post it here and not there? No. If you want your message to get to a wider audience you need to publish it where They are, not where You want to be. Unfortunately that sometimes means subscribing to a number of services (and BTW, they’re all free).
If you have a Marketing department, They should have a strategy for social media despite anyone’s personal views – and if you look around, most of the MV DBMS providers do have a strong social media presence, simply because it’s good business these days to do so.
If you are an individual, consider what you want in terms of sharing or obtaining information. Consider that the answers you seek don’t all emanate from people who have the same preferences as you do for social media. For this reason, consider subscribing to the media that has the content you want and the audience you wish to embrace. Again, when it comes down to it, that means the primary ones: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
In the case of my alumni association, the board of managers needs to understand that the audience of alumni is very diverse, spread out around the country and the world now, and that they all get their information from different places. People simply don’t go to the alumni web page, but a lot of them are floating around in the various social media sites. So I’ve offered to help them to get messages to those people about reunions and whatnot. The high school alumni association isn’t much higher on people’s list of priorities than your latest software update. We all need to go out and find these people because it’s increasingly difficult to get them to come to us.
Here are quotes from a few colleagues who have echoed these concepts all very well after reading the first blog, and much more concisely than myself:
Whether we like it or not, social networks aren’t going anywhere.
I would go so far as to say in about 10 years no one is going to check their email anymore. And if you want new folks talking about MV in an online setting, mailing lists definitely aren’t going to get you there.
Just visit your local church, or some place where kids hangout and observe
them- and you will see. Its a brave new world, whether we like it or not.
Learn how to relate to the culture and pass on what you know- or the knowledge will be lost. Happens all the time in the history books.
— John Thompson
Every company I am involved in has a facebook/linkedin/twitter account and we keep them updated regularly – it is essential in modern business marketing to do this.
— Symeon Breen
Be aware that according to Gartner, the largest single demographic using Twitter is not teens and tweens, but baby boomers! While the former get all the media attention, your prospective customers and suppliers are probably among the latter.
— Robert Houben
As I said in my first post, my initial agenda here is personal. I have a lot of things that I’d like to share with colleagues, technical thoughts that don’t fit in this blog, and I think many of my colleagues have similar information to share. This is where Twitter is of some value, at least until some other micro-blog comes along. So first and foremost, I’m encouraging people to get onto Twitter and at least follow people with whom you’d like to exchange information. I hope I’m one of them. Sometime soon I’ll focus on LinkedIn and the others. Let’s hit those separately.
Thanks for your time.
See part3 if you haven’t already.