It was a comment from and a title of a blog post from Chris Brogan that made me ask the question. Twitter can be tiring and pointless noise, and social media can be a bunch of chores, if the intent does not match the intention. If your involvement is not engagement, then what happens to the outcomes?
approach these tools with intention and honesty, they fuel fulfilling
outcomes. But when we approach them out of boredom or restlessness, we
remain unfulfilled. And so we do and so do companies that are thinking about joining the social media bandwagon. Yes, there is a bandwagon effect in social media.
To find true engagement, we need to first deliver engagement ourselves. It turns out that social media is but a reflection of life, just like public relations, marketing, and everything else with them - we get out of it what we put in. Fulfilling the list of chores is not going to make you better, it's not going to make you kick ass, it's not even going to take you to the top, or help you change the world - by itself.
To get to your engagement there are many things you don't need. You don't need to follow someone else's rules. You don't need to be a guru or an expert to be worth spending time with. You don't need lofty definitions or titles, either. Among all the things you don't need is also the list of chores. As Chris Guillebeau writes, you most certainly don't need other people's permission.
What you do need is clarity in what you want and awareness of who you are. Then believe passionately in both as you step off the map, recognizing that they - you - will change over time with experience. We're human beings, we're fragile, sometimes insecure, and yet incredibly resilient and enduring as we defy the most incredible circumstances often with the strength of an idea whose time has come.
For markets to be true conversations, we need to have people who are truly engaged in the experience. Yesterday we talked about mapping the customer journey. Do we have an idea of what our own journey is? This is a question not just for individuals, organizations, too can lose their way.
Applying good advice blindly to your own situation will not do you any good if you don't have an appreciation for your own context and a desire to engage with it yourself. This is the main reason why you often hear that you have to be immersed in social media and experience it in first hand to know what it's about. You do. But don't approach it as one more checklist of things to do.
"Social" is the ultimate disintermediation mechanism, sometimes so real and amazingly unfiltered, at other times seemingly too much and confusing. Where things may not seem to be what they really are. Are you who you really are immersed in it? Did you publish a list to be generous or to be seen as expert? Are you collecting people like you did with baseball cards - to observe them from a distance - or because you really want to meet them, be with them?
This is all yours to decide. And it's a decision that will determine the kind of engagement you will have as you move into the execution phase. In social media, you are the product. Is the product good enough to mass market, or does it market itself? This is applicable to professional endeavors, too, in case you were wondering. What is the experience of you?
True engagement begins at home - inside - and travels to the corners of the world.