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Trust Me, I'm A Social Media Expert

It’s about understanding human beings, how individuals consume media, what drives us, what amuses us, what speaks to us.
Forbes | 12.01.2012
The very funny website (SMDB) begins by asking us, “Do you want to learn how to use Web 2.0 Social Media to become a millionaire overnight? How would you like to increase your Twitter followers by eleventy-billion in 3.68 seconds? Do you want to use Twitter to make a gazillion dollars through affiliate marketing and multi-level marketing schemes? Do you use the term “Twitter Coach” to describe yourself?”

Much like uber-agency TraDigery and its Chief Executive Strategic Knowlegation Officer Lauren Heishman teaches us about the PR space, SMDB creator and queen sniper Alison Gianatto quite validly points out that communicators spend far too much time telling their peers about their ability to display awe-inspiring labels like “ninjas,” “experts,” “mavens,” or “gurus.”

Many haven’t particularly earned it, but they do.

Many of those who started participating in the space before, say, 2007, recognized that understanding social media isn’t about slapping a ridiculous moniker on your Twitter account or boasting that you’re the “177th Most Influential Person Online” according to Muppets Hairstyles Monthly Magazine.

It’s about understanding human beings, how individuals consume media, what drives us, what amuses us, what speaks to us. And the reality is the answer to any of those questions is highly complex and differs from person to person.

That’s why the dumbest thing that consistently comes out of nearly every national politician’s mouth is, “The American people want……..” When in reality, we all want different things.

Previously in private circles — untracked by algorithms, bots or Mr. T — people have always chosen the topics they were interested in. You just didn’t know it because they were simply calling a toll-free number to order Sports Illustrated or Cooking With Wilfred. Now, however, social media allows people to pick and choose individual interests and it’s up to companies to find a way to intersect with them where it counts – by interest, location or need.

And, of equal importance, it should be noted that it’s not just social media — it’s all media. Haven’t we reached the point where social media has simply become plain old media? Seriously, look at any daily newspaper online today and you’ll see an aggregate of blogs. It’s all just a series of channels through which we are trying to send a message, engage on some level, reciprocate feedback, build reputation, make a buck, or all of the above.

Audiences are more fragmented than ever across a dizzying number of media, and the attention of most is under constant assault from a maddening amount of companies competing for that limited bandwidth. The dirty little secret is how much money and time is wasted on brand campaigns that go nowhere in any media venue, simply because they don’t start with a human element.

There is an unquestioned art and science to breaking through the media clutter, and there is a specified expertise to getting results that deliver bottom line results. But it’s about people — understanding and actually trying to relate to people from their perspective, not your own.

As Alison puts in on SMDB, “….if you don’t ‘agree’ that this it the most ‘valuable’ Web 2.0 resource for making money that you’ve ever ‘used’, simply Web. 2.0 email me and I’ll issue you a 100% refund on the spot.”
About the author: Forbes