Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pre-July 4th Smackdown on Social Media News

It's a sunny day outside while I sit here typing away from my home office. Things are good - the birds are chirping and I am tweeting away myself...adding my voice to the ever present online buzz.

It is time for reflection and realizing that I am not a great writer, I am going to do this post as a list - a list of thoughts I'm having at this time about social media and associations.

1. Confession: I still haven't found the "sweet spot" for explaining social media and how to use it to association colleagues.

I stumble between the "What is Twitter?" folks and the "Could we use this as a widget?" people when they are in the same audience...which is every time I speak about this stuff. I feel energized and at the same time I feel like a failure. It's like explaining the telephone to people before they had ever used it for know how important and incredible the possibilities are, but it is hard to show people as a group how they can apply social media tools to their work in an association to make it exceptional.

I am embarrassed at this and feel like I should be better at navigating a room by now...better at explaining these tools. I am trying to think on this and I need to employ better communication methods in order to get my point across.

2. I'll still use the overused word "authentic" when talking about how associations need to aim for transparency.

I do agree that it should already be a given, an expectation, but I am not sure all associations are really there yet. There is definitely a divide, though it seems to be narrowing. The need for less marketing speak and more of a "human" voice is growing as we rely on more and more new methods to reach out to members. Promotional materials still need to exist. We just need to be sure the copy on our promotional material doesn't get copy and pasted into the wrong areas where honesty and tact is expected.

3. I'm still having fun. I'm still enjoying trying new applications and platforms...still reading up on social media all the time. But I can admit I am sometimes internally rolling my eyes when I hear someone explain for the billionth time what a hashtag is, or shared bookmarks, or tags, or the importance of using filters on Facebook.

I know these are legitimate questions that I have no qualms about explaining to someone...but to listen to someone else explain the same things to a group is hard. Is that elitist or rude?

4. Finally, my God, how much has my life been enhanced professionally by social media!?! I have friends I have never met face-to-face and to think what my job would be like without the benefit of social media's tools is crazy...

There. How's that for a pre-Independence Day post? I feel like I just wrote in my diary. If anyone at all reads this half-abandoned blog of mine, I hope you enjoyed this post and feel free to comment as you see fit.