Like many bloggers, I receive a fair number of pitches each week. They range from well-reasoned, clearly personalized emails to the comically awful (Hint of the Day: the subject header of something you'd like to get read should not be "blogger Pitch").
The other day, through a blogger friend of mine, I received a come-on that was clearly transmitted by a new web-based service for marketers interested in using social media. I clicked back to the service and read their presentation.
There were some interesting tools. This service is targeted primarily to corporate marketers who feel pressed to produce ROI metrics. Many of the site's features contained some impressive ways to track the way people interact with the RSS feeds, emails, and multimedia enclosures managed by the program.
But the site consistently referred to social media interactions in a way which really caught my attention. It termed all these various communications as "shouts." This is exactly wrong. Social media is about a lot of things, but not shouting at your customers. And that's exactly what you're doing when you force information down the pipeline without making yourself available for a real conversation with its recipient.
Social media isn't a broadcast. It's a whisper. That's right: a whisper. Social media is simply a way to get next to your customer and speak only with them. Whispering is intimate. It's done up close. And it's closely related to listening.
The candles are lit. The lights are low. Social media has set the table, and your conversation partner is waiting to hear what you have to say. There's no need to shout. They're listening, and expect you to do the same.