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May 6, 2010

Social Media - Challenges

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So, it's long about midnight last night and I'm working on a visual spec when my IM client chimes in its politely obstreperous (read, passive/aggressive?) way.

It's a local user--a hotel GM -- and she's up in arms about the social media tools we just put at her fingertips through her brand's online marketing toolkit.

"I don't DO social," she IMs me, "and I don't see why anybody WOULD."

And I think to myself, "Wow. If that isn't a case of the kettle calling the pot pitch black, well, I don't know what is."

Here, we've got a fairly senior exec for a really serious brand IMing me at midnight, fully expecting an instant response. And this au courant correspondent (46, if she's a day, like me) is convinced she doesn't "do" social. Even though she's been doing social (as I define it, going back to the prehistoric patter of AOL bulletin boards) pretty much every day of her career.

And then, of course, it hits me. My DDS (don't do social) confrere isn't turned off by technology. She's rebelling against the added burden of one more demand on her time.

Because, really, who has time to update a motley band of on-again/off-again followers, when there's a management meeting this morning at nine?

Who has the mental space to manufacture a Facebook update that rises above the oh-so-obvious mundane?

Above all, who has the hair-raising hubris to hope that their last-second blurts could magically rise to the level of the noteworthy?

No, social--real social, good social--takes TIME.

And time, of course, is the one currency that Goldman Sachs cannot game.

So, what did I do with my socially challenged GM? I IMed her instantly, of course--to tell her our purpose is to streamline the process without sapping the context of what she and her business have to say. To help her interleave offers with ideas; special rates with local insights. Our goal is to help her get social right in the five or so minutes she has per day.

That's a tall order, I know. I'll let you all know how it goes...

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by Kevin Groome

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