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bigdogSM.pngBy B.L. Ochman
In 2005, Henry Copeland, founder of told me that when he went to get his teeth cleaned three years earlier and the hygienist asked what he did, he said “blog advertising.”
“Umm, hmm,” she replied. The next year, his answer was the same. Her response was “Oh! I’ve heard of that!” The next year: the same exchange, and the next.
As he was leaving on the third year, she called out “Good luck with the flogging!”
I got a similar reality check yesterday in a conversation with an incredibly successful CEO who said “I don’t read blogs, and Twitter makes no sense to me, even though I’ve tried it. Just tell me what I need to know, that I can learn while I’m doing something else, like paying bills. I don’t have time for social media! I’m too busy running my company.”
My ignorance is in great demand
My particular brand of ignorance has never been in greater demand than in the past year, and I’ve had the great good fortune to advise some of America’s largest companies about integrating social media into their overall marketing.
Yet, I often talk to people who have literally no idea what all the fuss is about social media. “We’re here to work. We have to make our numbers,” they say. “We don’t have time to sit around Tweeting. Even if each employee spent five minutes a day on Twitter or Facebook,” I’ve been told, “that could cost the company millions in lost time.”
I also got into a bit of an argument recently at a party where an extremely successful artist told me he had no idea, and didn’t care, what Twitter was. In fact, he doesn’t use a computer except for email. “How could you not know what Twitter is,” I stupidly exclaimed “unless you’ve been living under a rock.” (I’m not proud of that response.)
Yes, I know the value of incorporating social media into marketing. And if you’re reading this, you probably do too. So do many companies, big and small, who have begun to listen earnestly to their customers because they realize the customers have gained a great deal of business control. But don’t think for a minute that the rest of the world really gives a fig about social media.
The most important question
So, my friends, especially the 5,855 self-appointed social media gurus and ninjas on Twitter, think twice before you launch into your next client pitch. My bet is you need to start with a very simple question:
“How do you define social media?”
The answers are likely to surprise you.