Thursday, September 24, 2009

What role does social media play? Part I

Yesterday, the power of social media at its simplest (and therefore finest) was demonstrated. I attended an excellent webinar, hosted by the CWC and featuring Leona Hobbs talking about personal brand. Over 100 women across the country came together through a simple online tool in an effort to understand building a brand in this new technology age.

The questions from the audience were as good as the presentation - but one question/theme in particular has been under my skin all day: what role does social media play?

Whether you are one person or a team, asking from a personal or corporate perspective, looking to build brand, reputation, career or community – chances are that you’re engaged in that question across many forums.

Let’s look at the technology first
It’s simplistic of me to say “it’s just one more tool” (though it is). It’s also technology that is very new and no one has any real idea where it will all be in 10 years.

People argue about the value of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. Those are just gizmos like the Viewmaster was a toy of the 60s. Viewmaster is still fun today but it no longer is changing the way we see our photos! Nor did the Viewmaster replace the storybook – another old social media tool that is still around. And, while bands are no longer cutting vinyl, some folks still swear by their 33s.

The point is we don’t know where the tools will lead us or what new tools will be coming around. We’ve just cracked open the door.

Experiment with the tools. You don't have one colour in your wardrobe and you shouldn't still to one method of reaching out. Don't be afraid to make a mistake in learning to use it. Google definitions and demos if you're a researcher like me. Jump right in if you're able. Talk to people about what they're using and what they like about it.

You wouldn't buy a computer without talking to a few folk. The social media tools are an extension of the computer on which you already rely.

Just remember, like computers and Viewmasters, it's all evolving.

More on the next post…

1 comment:

leona hobbs said...

I love the Viewmaster analogy. Very nice! And I think you're right about the experimentation with tools. You need to try new tools to evaluate what's right for your own personal workflow (Blogger vs. Wordpress vs. Tumblr vs. Posterous, for example) and when you're exploring tools for building community, you've got to think about what it easiest and best and which tools your community members are already using.

I'm glad you enjoyed the webinar, it is always a lot of fun to engage with the CWC community.