No, it’s true. Really. Trust me.

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I recently had a discussion with some colleagues in an organization that I am a part of.  I don’t want to name names or name the organization, and honestly, that isn’t the important part of this story.  We were talking about social media and the relative importance of it compared to other forms of outreach, both old and new, that we have been using for years.

Just to cut straight to the chase, my ideas for expanding our social media presence, focusing on it heavily, and reaching out to our younger market was seriously called into question.  In fact, they basically said that social media isn’t what we needed to focus on at all, because we ‘couldn’t control the message’.

Oh boy.

Social Media is of course one of the biggest phenomenons in recent memory, and people like you and me like to talk about it incessantly, don’t we?  If you have read anything that I have posted, you know how I feel about the whole thing.  Social Media in all its forms is a garden, bursting at the seems and ripe for the harvest.  No, it can’t solve all your problems.  But yes, it does provide wonderful opportunities to connect with your constituents.

I have been paid large sums of money to consult businesses on this whole thing.  I am hired to speak all over the place on how to do this.  I have done my homework and I know what works.  I have seen the success stories.  I have talked to those who are making it work.  And I have seen some of my clients succeed at this.

So it never occurred to me that someone in my own world would doubt that what I was proposing for our social media strategy would work.  I was kinda at a loss for words.

What I wanted to say to these folks was “No, it’s true.  Really.  Trust me.  People pay me money to help them do this and you’re getting my wonderful expertise for free!  Just do what I say and it will all work out.”  Then I had a realization.  An epiphany if you will (I have always wanted to use that word.):  Not everyone gets it.  Everyone doesn’t live inside this little bubble of social media that we do.  And I shouldn’t expect that everyone views social media like I do.  Believe it or not, some people still don’t trust social media.

I mean, the reality is that some of these folks who were doubting my social media strategy don’t even have a Facebook account, and they have never seen a tweet.  Really.  So how in the world can they even have an opinion about this if they don’t even spend any time in this world?  Would you allow someone who has never even seen the inside of a car repair shop provide you advice on which replacement part you need for your alternator?  But then again, how in the world can I expect people like that to have the same level of confidence and trust that I do in a medium that to them is on one hand foreign, and on the other hand dangerous?

They want us to ‘control the message’, which of course you can’t do in social media.  It’s a two-way street.  It’s a conversation.  And that means that the people ‘out there’ may have something to say about you that isn’t so flattering and may even make us look bad… publicly.  And that scares the begeeses out of them.  I saw the fear in their eyes and shock on their faces at the very thought of it.  These people aren’t ready for this.

So I am stepping back.  We are going to take it slow.  And ‘incremental’ rules the day, so to speak.  I will put my pride in check, and take their hand, and take slow steps as I lead them into that dark, foggy forest of social media.  It may take longer than I thought to get where I think we need to go.  But we will get there.  Slowly.

And I am gonna try really hard to get them to open up a Facebook account.  I mean, a little FarmVille never hurt anyone, right?

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