Why Social Media is Scary

As one of my company’s social media leads, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a wide range of people about social media.  From our most senior VPs to senior executives within the government to our summer interns, every group has their own set of questions, concerns, and pre-conceived notions about social media and what it means for them.  Over time though, I’ve realized that they all one thing in common.  They could all agree on one thing.

Social media is scary.

Let me tell you why.  Businesses and our government are structured in a very hierarchical way – everyone is part of an org chart, everyone has a boss, and everyone is working to get to the next level.  Why?  Because inevitably, the next level brings more pay, more power, more respect, and more influence.  In the current organizational structure, everyone’s role is nicely identified on the org chart and with that, there is a structured way to act.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever said or have been told something like, “you can’t contact him directly – get in touch with your manager first,” or “draft an email for me to send to him,” or even better, “talk to “Public Affairs and Legal to get that approved before sending it out.”

The problem with this structure is that social media renders these traditional roles and responsibilities obsolete.  It introduces unpredictability and opportunity, unauthorized emails and tremendous insights, inappropriate language and humor.  Social media gives everyone a voice, whether they want it or not.

That’s a scary concept.

  • For junior employees – “Yeah, that’s great that I can start a blog that everyone in the organization can read, but what will I say?  What if my grammar is wrong or I spell something wrong – will people think I can’t write?  What if I disagree with something that my manager says?  What if I write too much and my boss wonders why I wasn’t working?  I don’t know – I’ll have to really think about it.”
  • For developers, programmers and other IT staff – “Ummm, I became an IT programmer because I hate people.  I don’t like speaking out, and really enjoy just coding and sticking to myself.  Now, you’re making me blog about my work?  I have to post my code to a wiki?  But, I can’t – it’s not ready for prime time yet.  I can’t just post draft content out there – let me get my manager to review this first.”
  • For managers – “So, how much time is my staff going to be spending blogging/reading blogs rather than doing actual work?  If my staff have questions about their project, their career, or their work environment, I want them coming to me, not blogging about it for the whole world to see.  I’ve got an MBA and have been with the organization for five years – why would I put my work out there for people to change and mess up?”
  • For senior leadership – “What happens when people start using these platforms to just complain about everything?  Why would I want to give everyone a place to whine about every little thing that’s bothering them?  I can’t possibly keep up with every comment, question, and suggestion that goes up – I don’t have the time to do that!”

At the heart of all these questions is an underlying fear of the unexpected. People now have a voice, a freedom to say what they want and talk to whomever they want.

In the traditional business culture of org charts, everyone is relegated to their role and everyone lives by that – it is very easy (and fits nicely onto a PowerPoint slide).  Before we had social media at my organization, if we got an email from someone we didn’t know, all we had to go on was their directory listing – “ohhh, I just got an email from one of our Principals – I’ll have to ask my manager if it’s ok to respond directly to them or not.”  Now, I can click on anyone’s name and see not only their entire bio and a picture, but also their entire history of contributed intellectual capital(IC).  I can see their blog postings, their wiki edits, their bookmarks, and their skillset.  I’ve gotten this a lot lately as people within my organization have tried to say that they’re social media “experts” yet I can click on their name and find out they haven’t blogged, they’ve made one wiki edit, and they’ve only logged into our social media platform once.  Really?  You’re a social media “expert?”  Thanks, but I’ll pass and contact the guy in San Diego who has been editing the wiki like a fiend, adding great IC on social media.

Social media allows people to easily subvert the traditional organizational hierarchy.  Whereas that title or degree that followed your name used to be all the authority you needed, you’re now being judged by what, if anything, you’ve contributed.  I’ve run into quite a few senior PhDs who turned out to be brilliant and just as many who left me asking how they got through undergrad – I now have more information at my disposal to make my own determination before I ever even meet them.  This transparency scares people because they’re now forced to show their skills and demonstrate their expertise.

Social media gives employees an unprecedented ability to use their voice to gain credibility, influence, and power within the organization – for better or for worse.  Junior employees can quickly become valued and respected or suspended and reprimanded members of the organization because they now have a voice.  Middle managers can lose their power and credibility if they don’t use their voice.  Senior leaders can lose total control of their organization if they don’t listen to these voices.

No matter what level you’re at, social media can be very scary.  On the other hand, it can be an incredible opportunity.  Will you face your fears and take advantage of the opportunity or hide from the fear it instills?

*Image Courtesy of Flickr user Ack Ook*

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About sradick

I'm Vice President, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (http://steveradick.com/about/).

View all posts by sradick
  • Yes, social media is scary! But organizations that don’t adapt are going to shrink if not die. Look at the heritage media – they finally start to get blogging about five years too late to save their business model. We all must be constantly learning and contributing to keep up with the fast-changing nature of work – that is scary, and exhilarating.

  • Yes, social media is scary! But organizations that don’t adapt are going to shrink if not die. Look at the heritage media – they finally start to get blogging about five years too late to save their business model. We all must be constantly learning and contributing to keep up with the fast-changing nature of work – that is scary, and exhilarating.

  • rick

    Is there a Part 2 to this? Because all of those issues you posed as questions from various people are valid concerns from their point of view. Right now, this seems a very long winded way to say ‘social media is scary.’ Fine, but how do you answer those questions? How do you move people from that place to realizing that the benefits might be worth it? WHY are the benefits worth it? Why, in your own organization, are there people who don’t use social media?

  • rick

    Is there a Part 2 to this? Because all of those issues you posed as questions from various people are valid concerns from their point of view. Right now, this seems a very long winded way to say ‘social media is scary.’ Fine, but how do you answer those questions? How do you move people from that place to realizing that the benefits might be worth it? WHY are the benefits worth it? Why, in your own organization, are there people who don’t use social media?

  • Rick – good point. I provided no solutions for how to approach these people and get them engaged. I thought about that as I was writing this, but it turned out to be pretty long already. I’ll follow this up with some more about how I illustrate the benefits of being transparent.

    As for my organization, there are a lot of people who don’t use social media, primarily for the reasons I’ve outlined above. But, there’s also an added element of the fact that more than half of the employees in my organization are based on client site so they’re pretty removed from the culture of our organization. They don’t see/live the benefits of networking with other Booz Allen employees every day, whether that’s physical or virtual. These people are also very focused on working 100% of their time on billable client work. They’re very hesitant (valid point) to use the Booz Allen network while they’re on client site, even if it would benefit their work. They’re also not as inclined (obviously) to log into our network after they get home to read blogs or edit a wiki. We’re actively working to show these people the benefits of using social media behind the firewall and how it can be used to work smarter.

    Great points Rick and I hope to address them in the future.

  • Rick – good point. I provided no solutions for how to approach these people and get them engaged. I thought about that as I was writing this, but it turned out to be pretty long already. I’ll follow this up with some more about how I illustrate the benefits of being transparent.

    As for my organization, there are a lot of people who don’t use social media, primarily for the reasons I’ve outlined above. But, there’s also an added element of the fact that more than half of the employees in my organization are based on client site so they’re pretty removed from the culture of our organization. They don’t see/live the benefits of networking with other Booz Allen employees every day, whether that’s physical or virtual. These people are also very focused on working 100% of their time on billable client work. They’re very hesitant (valid point) to use the Booz Allen network while they’re on client site, even if it would benefit their work. They’re also not as inclined (obviously) to log into our network after they get home to read blogs or edit a wiki. We’re actively working to show these people the benefits of using social media behind the firewall and how it can be used to work smarter.

    Great points Rick and I hope to address them in the future.

  • Great entry Steve. I think it summarizes nicely some of the fears shared by many organizations about social computing. I think it’s interesting that with every new media channel, there’s fear in using it: email, instant messaging, now this…

    I used to be a consultant for my organization until very recently and I shared the pains that you outlined above: I was working on billable engagements, often disconnected from the network, and when I got back to the hotel, I was too tired to do anything extra. Besides, if I shared my knowledge, there would no longer be any use for me, right ? (knowledge is power)

    How wrong I was!! I started using Blogs as my daily notebook with no intentions of having others read it. I simply wanted to capture my challenges at customer sites, what I had gone through, and lessons learned. It was simply an experiment to see if it would make me a better consultant! And that’s exactly what it did! As I started to share my challenges, others in the organization would comment and provide their perspective. These comments, in turn, really helped me think outside the box in order to generate a solution for my customer faster and cheaper!! Additionally, as I shared solutions, other consultants were able to reuse them, thereby helping the entire organization and improve customer satisfaction. Finally, I also got visibility from my organization’s executives (one of them even sent me a really nice note detailing how much he appreaciates what I do). And as everyone knows… networking is important for career growth.

    So yes, social media is scary, but once you start using it, you see how much value it creates for **you**, and you simply can’t stop! 🙂 (at least I can’t).

  • Great entry Steve. I think it summarizes nicely some of the fears shared by many organizations about social computing. I think it’s interesting that with every new media channel, there’s fear in using it: email, instant messaging, now this…

    I used to be a consultant for my organization until very recently and I shared the pains that you outlined above: I was working on billable engagements, often disconnected from the network, and when I got back to the hotel, I was too tired to do anything extra. Besides, if I shared my knowledge, there would no longer be any use for me, right ? (knowledge is power)

    How wrong I was!! I started using Blogs as my daily notebook with no intentions of having others read it. I simply wanted to capture my challenges at customer sites, what I had gone through, and lessons learned. It was simply an experiment to see if it would make me a better consultant! And that’s exactly what it did! As I started to share my challenges, others in the organization would comment and provide their perspective. These comments, in turn, really helped me think outside the box in order to generate a solution for my customer faster and cheaper!! Additionally, as I shared solutions, other consultants were able to reuse them, thereby helping the entire organization and improve customer satisfaction. Finally, I also got visibility from my organization’s executives (one of them even sent me a really nice note detailing how much he appreaciates what I do). And as everyone knows… networking is important for career growth.

    So yes, social media is scary, but once you start using it, you see how much value it creates for **you**, and you simply can’t stop! 🙂 (at least I can’t).

  • There is a reason why many liken social media engagement with diving into a swimming pool. Don’t wade, don’t splash your feet, and don’t hold your nose when going underwater.

    The moment fear takes control, it’s hard to continue.

  • There is a reason why many liken social media engagement with diving into a swimming pool. Don’t wade, don’t splash your feet, and don’t hold your nose when going underwater.

    The moment fear takes control, it’s hard to continue.

  • Absolutely, social media is scary. It is part of the organisations’ environment where it is an opportunity when not managed well could be disastrous. It is also a threat that could be turned into an opportunity. Continuously scanning for changes in an organisations’ environment and adapting to those changes that matter is key to a competitive advantage.

  • Absolutely, social media is scary. It is part of the organisations’ environment where it is an opportunity when not managed well could be disastrous. It is also a threat that could be turned into an opportunity. Continuously scanning for changes in an organisations’ environment and adapting to those changes that matter is key to a competitive advantage.

  • “social media is like diving into a swimming pool” – good analogy Ari. I also like to use “social media is like taking a band-aid off – just rip it and go!”

  • “social media is like diving into a swimming pool” – good analogy Ari. I also like to use “social media is like taking a band-aid off – just rip it and go!”

  • Moses – the part of the organization that makes it scary is the fundamental business rule of “don’t take chances.” The government is not a risk-taking organization – people are typically not only not rewarded for taking risks, they’re often punished severely. This is why so much of why everything gets classified as Top Secret – no one ever gets mad if you over-classify something, but if you under-classify something, you get fired or arrested. Now, between those options, wouldn’t you also go the conservative route too? It’s hard to break through that mental barrier.

  • Moses – the part of the organization that makes it scary is the fundamental business rule of “don’t take chances.” The government is not a risk-taking organization – people are typically not only not rewarded for taking risks, they’re often punished severely. This is why so much of why everything gets classified as Top Secret – no one ever gets mad if you over-classify something, but if you under-classify something, you get fired or arrested. Now, between those options, wouldn’t you also go the conservative route too? It’s hard to break through that mental barrier.

  • Rick- good point. For a non-profit or government organisation the issue is ‘value for money’. This can be discussed within the context of ‘what is confidential and what is not’ (including national security) also ‘whistle blowing’, ‘freedom of information’ and ‘good governance’. In a nutshell, can social media create value for money in the non-profit or government sector? The short answer is yes. We have seen how the nonprofits/charities are using social media to transform the developing world. Why is it not possible in government organisations?

  • Rick- good point. For a non-profit or government organisation the issue is ‘value for money’. This can be discussed within the context of ‘what is confidential and what is not’ (including national security) also ‘whistle blowing’, ‘freedom of information’ and ‘good governance’. In a nutshell, can social media create value for money in the non-profit or government sector? The short answer is yes. We have seen how the nonprofits/charities are using social media to transform the developing world. Why is it not possible in government organisations?

  • A minor thought-addendum to this article: I see impact of social media as a dynamic phenomenon – scary at first and necessary over time. An example is a blog called ‘Mini-Microsoft’ where some dude just voices his opinion about life inside Microsoft. Initially, there was a lot of confusion and anxiety within the company about how to ‘deal’ with this blog. But over time, since the blog was wielded responsibly (by surfacing relevant and articulate arguments), it is now well accepted and a lot of my friends working there view it as a means to surface the pulse of the company.

    Conventional industries require such transparency. Since they may have not developed it organically, social media just forces them to make a strategic change that was necessary anyways.

    What’s worrisome is side-effects such as leaking of information and trade secrets. That’s what’s scary to me.

  • A minor thought-addendum to this article: I see impact of social media as a dynamic phenomenon – scary at first and necessary over time. An example is a blog called ‘Mini-Microsoft’ where some dude just voices his opinion about life inside Microsoft. Initially, there was a lot of confusion and anxiety within the company about how to ‘deal’ with this blog. But over time, since the blog was wielded responsibly (by surfacing relevant and articulate arguments), it is now well accepted and a lot of my friends working there view it as a means to surface the pulse of the company.

    Conventional industries require such transparency. Since they may have not developed it organically, social media just forces them to make a strategic change that was necessary anyways.

    What’s worrisome is side-effects such as leaking of information and trade secrets. That’s what’s scary to me.

  • Hierarchy is about control. And although employees have always found ways to subvert control, social media makes it extremely fast and easy. And it’s pervasive. Many companies still ban access to Facebook or LinkedIn on company time. And companies will fire employees (and do) for blogging. The same happened in the mid-90s when browsers gave employees easy access to the Web and companies banned “surfing” on company time. Hierarchy will be around for a long time (probably forever), but execs will become better educated over what they should try to control and what they shouldn’t. For social media, they just need to post guidelines. Set the baseline for appropriate behavior. Then open the floodgates.

  • Hierarchy is about control. And although employees have always found ways to subvert control, social media makes it extremely fast and easy. And it’s pervasive. Many companies still ban access to Facebook or LinkedIn on company time. And companies will fire employees (and do) for blogging. The same happened in the mid-90s when browsers gave employees easy access to the Web and companies banned “surfing” on company time. Hierarchy will be around for a long time (probably forever), but execs will become better educated over what they should try to control and what they shouldn’t. For social media, they just need to post guidelines. Set the baseline for appropriate behavior. Then open the floodgates.

  • Excellent article about why companies should develop strategies for social media.

    I was afraid of social media not so long ago. I place a high value on my personal life and didn’t want to be “over exposed”. Boy, was I wrong!

    As a solo-prenuer and designer, I have changed my philosophy about social media/network. While I’m still guarded about my private life, I find social media networks a vital to connecting with my peers, friends, clients and potential clients.

  • Excellent article about why companies should develop strategies for social media.

    I was afraid of social media not so long ago. I place a high value on my personal life and didn’t want to be “over exposed”. Boy, was I wrong!

    As a solo-prenuer and designer, I have changed my philosophy about social media/network. While I’m still guarded about my private life, I find social media networks a vital to connecting with my peers, friends, clients and potential clients.

  • Partha – great example of the Mini-Microsoft blog. That blog wasn’t officially sanctioned, he didn’t get permission from 100 different people, he just went out and did it. And now, he’s a respected blogger who’s found his career niche – I’m sure he wrestled with these same questions, and thought it was scary too. But, he also realized the opportunity to effect real change outweighed the scariness.

    Leaking proprietary or in the government’s case, national security, information is a big (and very valid) concern. Truth be told – there are going to be mistakes like this that will be made while our government learns how to effectively use these tools. It’s scary. But the opportunities that social media presents are too great to ignore.

  • Partha – great example of the Mini-Microsoft blog. That blog wasn’t officially sanctioned, he didn’t get permission from 100 different people, he just went out and did it. And now, he’s a respected blogger who’s found his career niche – I’m sure he wrestled with these same questions, and thought it was scary too. But, he also realized the opportunity to effect real change outweighed the scariness.

    Leaking proprietary or in the government’s case, national security, information is a big (and very valid) concern. Truth be told – there are going to be mistakes like this that will be made while our government learns how to effectively use these tools. It’s scary. But the opportunities that social media presents are too great to ignore.

  • I think the most effective guidelines for appropriate behavior on things like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. is the same as the guidelines for appropriate behavior when talking with anyone external to your organization. Don’t leak proprietary or secret information, don’t be a jackass, don’t speak on behalf of the company when you’re really speaking on behalf of yourself, be responsive, etc. You’re still interacting with other people whether it’s on Twitter, or a business lunch, or a happy hour – the fundamentals of appropriate behavior don’t really change.

  • I think the most effective guidelines for appropriate behavior on things like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. is the same as the guidelines for appropriate behavior when talking with anyone external to your organization. Don’t leak proprietary or secret information, don’t be a jackass, don’t speak on behalf of the company when you’re really speaking on behalf of yourself, be responsive, etc. You’re still interacting with other people whether it’s on Twitter, or a business lunch, or a happy hour – the fundamentals of appropriate behavior don’t really change.

  • It’s a difficult balance – some people have been very successful keeping a split of personal and professional lives. I find it very difficult to do so, but that’s how I use it. Others use social media very differently. Do what works for you. I know one person who has their entire family on a Facebook group – that’s how everyone from Grandma to the eight-year-old grandson plans events and stays connected with one another. That same person also uses FB as a valuable networking tool for business purposes.

  • It’s a difficult balance – some people have been very successful keeping a split of personal and professional lives. I find it very difficult to do so, but that’s how I use it. Others use social media very differently. Do what works for you. I know one person who has their entire family on a Facebook group – that’s how everyone from Grandma to the eight-year-old grandson plans events and stays connected with one another. That same person also uses FB as a valuable networking tool for business purposes.

  • Interesting post!

    I note that when it comes to fears about social networking, everyone you cite refers to the fear of sharing information in a public forum. No one addresses the fear of having to read that information!

    If I worked in a company with 1000s of employees, a significant percentage of whom were blogging — with the usual lack of respect for grammar and style that most non-writers display — I would be a hell of a lot more worried about what I’d have to read rather than how my own addition to the noise might be taken.

    The term “information overload” seems to have gone out of style. And people are becoming increasingly good at pre-filtering information in order to determine what information provides value. But many people do not have that discipline and I can imagine many poor sods spending hours every day reading their colleagues’ blog posts just in case important stuff lucks within.

    What are you thoughts?

  • Interesting post!

    I note that when it comes to fears about social networking, everyone you cite refers to the fear of sharing information in a public forum. No one addresses the fear of having to read that information!

    If I worked in a company with 1000s of employees, a significant percentage of whom were blogging — with the usual lack of respect for grammar and style that most non-writers display — I would be a hell of a lot more worried about what I’d have to read rather than how my own addition to the noise might be taken.

    The term “information overload” seems to have gone out of style. And people are becoming increasingly good at pre-filtering information in order to determine what information provides value. But many people do not have that discipline and I can imagine many poor sods spending hours every day reading their colleagues’ blog posts just in case important stuff lucks within.

    What are you thoughts?

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  • @Jeffrey – I’m not sure if anyone “fears” having to read that much information, in as much, they’re annoyed by it. The term “information overload” has gone out of style because with the filters and tools in place now, it’s relatively easy to screen out the garbage from the good content. Those that don’t do this well are probably annoyed at having to read through thousands of blog posts, but I don’t think they’re scared by it.

    It’s like when Amazon.com came out – I’m sure some people wondered how the heck they’d find anything on a site that cataloged millions of books – hell, it takes them long enough to find the book they’re looking for at the bookstore and that’s only a couple thousand books! Now, I can find a book on Amazon a infinitely faster than actually going to a Barnes & Noble. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading the Long Tail by Chris Anderson. There’s a chapter on there that essentially says that without these filters, all this information is useless.

    The other thing about it is that it’s all opt-in. You can choose to read the blog or you can disregard them. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. It’s just that more often than not, it’s worth putting up with some grammatical errors and other “noise” in order to get the information that you would have otherwise missed.

  • @Jeffrey – I’m not sure if anyone “fears” having to read that much information, in as much, they’re annoyed by it. The term “information overload” has gone out of style because with the filters and tools in place now, it’s relatively easy to screen out the garbage from the good content. Those that don’t do this well are probably annoyed at having to read through thousands of blog posts, but I don’t think they’re scared by it.

    It’s like when Amazon.com came out – I’m sure some people wondered how the heck they’d find anything on a site that cataloged millions of books – hell, it takes them long enough to find the book they’re looking for at the bookstore and that’s only a couple thousand books! Now, I can find a book on Amazon a infinitely faster than actually going to a Barnes & Noble. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading the Long Tail by Chris Anderson. There’s a chapter on there that essentially says that without these filters, all this information is useless.

    The other thing about it is that it’s all opt-in. You can choose to read the blog or you can disregard them. Each has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. It’s just that more often than not, it’s worth putting up with some grammatical errors and other “noise” in order to get the information that you would have otherwise missed.

  • For me, social media is very exciting and not scary at all. I was taught at a very young age to choose my words carefully, be kind and be respectful. You can disagree with someone without being rude or mean. The golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated has just as much validity on this platform as it does anywhere. We have an opportunity to communicate, share and learn from on another more powerfully than ever before. Let’s do so and build a brighter future for all.

  • For me, social media is very exciting and not scary at all. I was taught at a very young age to choose my words carefully, be kind and be respectful. You can disagree with someone without being rude or mean. The golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated has just as much validity on this platform as it does anywhere. We have an opportunity to communicate, share and learn from on another more powerfully than ever before. Let’s do so and build a brighter future for all.

  • Steve,

    Thanks for the great post, and I like the overall summary you’ve come to as if offers a way to find common ground. Another place I often find common ground in a varied audience is the question: “How do you have time?”

    In my opinion, at an increasing rate, I want to ask back, how can you afford NOT to have the time? From an individual perspective, it’s not too scary. Be yourself, be smart and be respectful.

    As a side, great job at the Government 2.0 panel. I always think the moderator has the hardest job, ;). I was in line to connect, but just missed you. Perhaps soon we can connect.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  • Steve,

    Thanks for the great post, and I like the overall summary you’ve come to as if offers a way to find common ground. Another place I often find common ground in a varied audience is the question: “How do you have time?”

    In my opinion, at an increasing rate, I want to ask back, how can you afford NOT to have the time? From an individual perspective, it’s not too scary. Be yourself, be smart and be respectful.

    As a side, great job at the Government 2.0 panel. I always think the moderator has the hardest job, ;). I was in line to connect, but just missed you. Perhaps soon we can connect.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  • “From an individual perspective, it’s not too scary. Be yourself, be smart and be respectful.”

    Love that! Wish we could have connected at Social Media Club too! Maybe next time? We should grab coffee or something soon anyway.

  • “From an individual perspective, it’s not too scary. Be yourself, be smart and be respectful.”

    Love that! Wish we could have connected at Social Media Club too! Maybe next time? We should grab coffee or something soon anyway.

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  • You mention the IT folks having issues with social media, but you focus on developers and programmers. How about network security folks? Every time “our side” has a social media breakthrough with our senior leadership, somebody in the network security shop sends out a link to a pessimistic article like this:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,485925,00.html

  • You mention the IT folks having issues with social media, but you focus on developers and programmers. How about network security folks? Every time “our side” has a social media breakthrough with our senior leadership, somebody in the network security shop sends out a link to a pessimistic article like this:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,485925,00.html

  • Pingback: Gov 2.0: 5 Reasons Social Media ISN’T Scary « Adriel Hampton()

  • Charlie Spencer (Palmetto)

    What about those of us who aren’t afraid, just overwhelmed?

    Some of us don’t know how to screen the garbage, locate the informative, or what tools to use to accomplish either of these tasks. I’m not annoyed at having to read through the garbage as much as I am frustrated; the prospect of having to do so is keeping me from trying social media at all. I have no filters, no friends with social network experience to guide me (and few friends to begin with), and no way to determine if I can benefit from using these tools.

  • Charlie Spencer (Palmetto)

    What about those of us who aren’t afraid, just overwhelmed?

    Some of us don’t know how to screen the garbage, locate the informative, or what tools to use to accomplish either of these tasks. I’m not annoyed at having to read through the garbage as much as I am frustrated; the prospect of having to do so is keeping me from trying social media at all. I have no filters, no friends with social network experience to guide me (and few friends to begin with), and no way to determine if I can benefit from using these tools.

  • Charlie – for these people, I’d recommend starting with the popular CommonCraft videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/leelefever) that explain the basics of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Start there, and then take baby steps. Maybe you start by reading books like the Cluetrain Manifesto, Wikinomics, or The World is Flat. Maybe you start by reading the blogs listed on my blogroll at the right – don’t look at it as some massive overwhelming pit of endless information. Rather, start with one tool, one social network, and go from there.

  • Charlie – for these people, I’d recommend starting with the popular CommonCraft videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/leelefever) that explain the basics of blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Start there, and then take baby steps. Maybe you start by reading books like the Cluetrain Manifesto, Wikinomics, or The World is Flat. Maybe you start by reading the blogs listed on my blogroll at the right – don’t look at it as some massive overwhelming pit of endless information. Rather, start with one tool, one social network, and go from there.

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    Cool – I have groupies 🙂 RT @textilejunkie: RT @sradick Why Social Media is Scary [link to post] I’m a new groupie of Steve Radick’s – Posted using Chat Catcher