Life in the social media bubble, is it real

Hello, can anybody hear me or am I just talking to myself in here?

Umair Haque writes an exceptional thought provoking piece called The Social Media Bubble at Harvard Business Review.

He advances this hypothesis:

“Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.

Do you think that is true? Certainly not true in all cases, but how much influence do the majority of us really have in social? How much are we venturing outside of this bubble to grow?

What about all the people you know who experienced social media burnout and just gave up? What impact do people giving up really have; are they even missed? What are the net-new numbers; the new blood coming in and where are they coming from?

My friend Howie at SkyPulseMedia shared his thoughts in his post Are We Really That Social and the numbers don’t lie; but is it relevant?

Show me some love

“The Internet runs on love. Equally, though, it’s full of hate: irrational lashing-out at the nearest person, place, or thing that’s just a little bit different. Read any newspaper web comments sections lately? Usually, they’re giant puddles of bile and venom. Check out these emails to Floyd Norris. Far from fueling meaningful conversation, today’s “social” web is a world full of the linguistic equivalent of drive-by shootings.”

Whereas social can seem lovey-dovey in our communities; we have all seen the ‘personalities’ who seem to thrive on controversy. This seems to attract at least short term attention, but at what cost?

We all bring our unique perspectives to the table and we don’t have to agree with each other; but are you losing audience by having manners and being civil?

What is your agenda?

Social has a very wide and diverse audience; the potential is unlimited. However, even if you have a clear mission and vision it can still be very harsh. It might look like the money is there for the grabbing, but is it really?

We all see some who use social very well. We also see the majority of us who somewhat ‘exist’ within these confines. In spite of it’s popularity, will social itself always be looked upon as a niche and either you are ‘all in’ or you are not?

I don’t have the answers

We have seen how important and effective social can be when used as a political tool allowing the ‘masses’ to have a voice. But what does that mean? When world events are happening, are you catching them in your stream? Does that have an impact on how you react to these events?

Here’s what I know

I ‘know’ more people than I did before getting into social. My community is very diverse and unique, which has certainly made me somewhat smarter and wiser on many levels.

Social is here to stay, some will maximize it’s usage and some will just exist within it’s walls.

Is it a bubble? Yes, to a certain degree because it appears you have to be totally ‘in’ to fully understand the potential it has. Can you exist and still be fully informed without it? I think so, but that is not so different from real life as well.

How big is it?

Pretty darn big; and some will argue the reach is not as deep as the social media pundits would like for us to believe. However, I will counter with if I know you and you know someone and on and on, somebody in that string will probably have influence and the ability to get things done.

What do you think; does all influence have to be global in scope or is it ok just to have a local impact? Even though it might not directly be putting money into your account, what other benefits do you see from being involved with social right now?

For me, it’s like one big Chamber of  Commerce social. I attend these often and whereas I might not do business every time I attend, I am making relationships that will create opportunities later. It has been a sustainable business model for me, do you think it can work for you?

Finally, it might appear we are just talking with ourselves, but your own unique perspective; your interests, your culture, etc brings something different to the party we can all learn from.


76 thoughts on “Life in the social media bubble, is it real

  1. I think this is a really good post my friend. i think that we all have different reasons for being here, and I am certainly here to make friends and contacts and build a community for my blog.

    I have also make amazing friendships along the way. I am happy to count you as one of my friends.

    Social can be a minefield, I have to remind myself that I am here to build an audience for the blog and to help others. Making friends has been the best unexpected benefit for me of being here. I have made several great friendships that have turned into guest post opportunities and strengthened those relationships. I love making new contacts for that reason. You never know what may come of it. 🙂

    • You are right, you never know what opportunities it might create so you might as well be nice and sincere while we are in here, huh?

      I hear a lot of talk about the echo chamber, but I contend w/ regardless of what we are saying, everybody has their own unique perspective. That should be worth something, right?

      I consider you a friend as well and it saddens me you are going through a difficult time right now. I hope it all works out for you sooner rather than later. Take care….

  2. Hi Bill,

    I’m up very early on the west coast, 5 a.m. to be exact, so it feels good to jump on here early. 😉 I’m not THAT addicted to social, I just have a ton to do today and had to get an early start. Of course I read your blog first thing!

    I’m pretty new to this social media world. I didn’t even use Twitter or Linked-In until May of this year, really. I didn’t even start a blog until two short months ago. So, I can’t add much to the conversation. There are many people that frequent your blog who are much smarter than this bear and have been at it for a while, so I am really looking forward to the responses. You always have great comments from your community.

    I can tell you what it’s done for me. To me, it is a very exciting place to be. A domain where I can roam free and have access to so many great people. Sure some of the outlets are full of vitriol and people can be downright cruel, if they are hiding behind some cartoon avatar that is. To me, that is not the true social web, because these people are hiding behind something and are often setting bait out on a hook.

    For the more popular bloggers that look for controversy and try to stir the pot. Oh well, you’ll always have those types. After all people love gossip and controversy. I wish we had a bit less, but I’m dreaming.

    Anyway, it’s been a great experience for me so far. Maybe I’m just a babe in the woods and too damned naive at this point. I don’t know, but so far it’s working just fine.

    But … I’m waiting for the seasoned veterans to chime in … should be good 🙂

    • Don’t try to kid me, you social media ho; I know you are now sleeping 3 less hours a night to keep up with your popularity. And speaking of that rook, you can drop the ‘I’ve only been doing this a month’ you wily veteran.

      When I jumped in I truly expected it to be just social but I quickly realized most of the bloggers are using this for a business platform as well. It took me awhile to get off the hamster treadmill and quit trying to keep up because that was not necessarily the direction I was ready to go in.

      Having said that, I do think I am improving my business acumen and I do learn from the people I have contact with. Even though we all talk similar at times, we are also very different.

      Naive is not a bad way to approach this because the realities will tend to make you jaded. If it’s not fun (even if it is work) then it’s not worth doing……..

      Finally, this is a family friendly site so be careful dropping those heavy words like vitriol in here, especially w/out the google definition.

      Good to see you and thanks for the early drive-by. Catch up with you soon.

      • I am becoming a bit of a soc-ho, but hey, I learned from the best, man. 😉

        I’ll use the “I’ve only been doing this…” excuse as long as I can get away with it, but you do keep calling me on it.

        I’m trying to come up with more of a plan, that’s for sure, but it is taking a while. I think it takes a while to find our way in social media, so many directions. Getting off the hamster treadmill is a good first step though … then trying to go on with a real plan of action.

        One of the best things about being online is the people you meet. Just like you, I’ve learned a ton, just wish I started doing this earlier.

        Thanks, Bill.

    • I think it’s rarefied air to participate at Gini’s level; and even if you want to, you better have a jam-up business plan for all phases of the operation. I’m at the total other end of the spectrum and before I start acting too crazy and going off in directions that will get me lost, I think it’s best I sit back for awhile until I do have clarity.

      Because everything was at a hectic pace I thought my business plan had to be as well. Our business website will be up and running very soon and I want to see what I can do with that. For now, I can be social too; just like in real life.

      • I wouldn’t even begin to entertain the notion I could operate at Gini’s level. I have learned a ton from her though and keep trying to absorb! She’s a generous teacher.

        Um, I wouldn’t say you are on the opposite end of the spectrum either. Seriously, I have learned a ton from you as well, and think you are doing so many things right. It just starts to get tricky when you talk about monetizing, doesn’t it?

        It will be interesting to see how your business website fleshes out. When is the big announcement?

    • Ah monetizing, just like sales; sometimes you are afraid to ask the hard questions because your aren’t ready to hear the answer.

      I think we will be rock and roll by Dec 1st; we have just a few more things to clean up. I’m trying to get them to put more pictures of me on the site……….:)

  3. Hello Bill!

    Interesting topic for discussion here. I think your closing words on social media being like “one big Chamber of Commerce social” is excellent! Perhaps those of us in sales feel this more so?! I don’t know. However, I will say for me social media is fascinating, as I enjoy both being part of it and looking at it from afar. Sometimes I bow out of learning “too much” because I think there’s a line that needs to be drawn or then you’re just a flat out geek with no life. Kidding.

    The relationships I’ve forged are valuable to me because in real life I’m very particular who I choose to spend my time and share what I hold dear. Yes, I originally set out for business purposes; however, little did I know what amazing individuals I’d meet along the way who add so much to my heart and soul in the way of inspiration, kindness and … humor! Ehmm! 😉

    Being honest, I don’t care if it’s a bubble or what it all means in the grand scheme of things – I just want to be true to those I have connected with in way of what I put out there and how I value them as individuals. It’s like counting stars or thinking about the word “eternity” and what it truly means … it would make you go mad if focused on it too much. Perhaps I’m not just too simple or simple-minded?!

    Thanks for making me think about something I really don’t want to think about today or any other … darn you! 

    Have a safe, great day!!

    Kindness always,


    • Oh, I had something so incredibly witty and funny to say but it probably wasn’t appropriate so I will just have to move on………..

      Just like a Chamber meeting, you will see some big time business owners because they are usually on the board and you will see a bunch of Main Streeters, the mom and pops which is very similar to social. It’s all a mix, most are there for similar purposes, but all bring their own unique perspective to the table.

      Life is more than business and where you will get your next dollar. Getting to know these people provides opportunities to know them on a deeper level and who knows how you might be able to help them or they might be in a position to do the same somewhere down the road.

      It really is no different than real life in here, it’s just the internet allows us to have a further reach and what you decide to do with it or how deep you go is up to you.

      So good to see you Elena; do I still have a seat at your table?

  4. My take on it all is that no matter where you are, online, offline, at home, work or play, you’re you. Give what you want to give, share what you want to share, be grateful for what you receive and do more if you see the need. That’s what I do wherever I am. I don’t see the boundaries anymore. All of those worlds are just opportunities to show up…or not. It’s all one big playground if you ask me!
    Just no sand-throwing!

  5. Bill, we’ve had the opportunity to chat about this, and at the risk of repeating myself, here’s where I’m at:

    I started delving into “social” eight months ago. At first, it was like a shiny new toy: exciting, challenging, thrilling and fun. I wanted to write without self-editing: that was my purpose and my goal. Mission accomplished.

    I also followed the advice of “gurus” (yes, I hate that word, but I shall use it) and spread myself thin, commenting all over the blogosphere, but only on posts that resonated with me: never simply for the sake of commenting.

    Fast-forward to today. I value the friendships and connections I’ve made. They are not thin. There is a core group of people that I truly consider to be friends. They are people that I can share things with, who realize if I don’t make it over to their site doesn’t mean I’m not connected or interested, people I value, respect and trust. I want to maintain those friendships. I do not consider these to be weak, artificial or thin, but perhaps that’s because when I started out, I connected with one person at a time, building on those connections, and not just randomly connecting with unknown multitudes.

    Now, as with all growth in life, my priorities are shifting. I’ve enjoyed the “social of Social”, and will want to maintain it. But I won’t feel the compulsion to feverishly comment, or the guilt associated with not doing so as I focus back on my business and its growth, prosperity and profitability. As Howie said in his post (thanks for that link: awesome post Howie!) social media, “helps your business. But it will never drive your business.”

    I never expected it to drive my business, but its role in my business strategy and growth is being reconfigured. So in many ways, I want the best of both worlds: an effective social presence within my business strategy, while maintaining the online friends/colleagues/associates I value. Hey!…who says we can’t have both? Cheers! Kaarina

    • Just like a Chamber event; I can go to the social and we can have a drink or two and I can be in your office the next day doing business. There is a mix, and relationship building usually helps you grow your business…….at least in my world.

      Once I got in and saw everybody working, I thought it was worth spending some time to see if any parts of it resonated with me for a business model. I think I am much more comfortable letting it help my business at this point instead of trying to drive my business. But who knows, we’ll just have to see how deep these businesses become in social going forward. One thing I do know, I think I have a leg up on most.

      To me, this is as real as it gets; just like in real life. You can make it as deep or as shallow as you want. We just have access to a lot more people online……..just sayin’….

      So good to see you; I hope your 5k times have not increased now that you are running in snow shoes…..

    • In this way, can see these very lucky today. Of course I also share a good news for you, at penrest the store is I have seen the most inexpensive and very good quality of , not letter you can go to .

  6. Great post and wonderful comments! I agree with you and your commenters, I put a lot into social media but I get even more out of it than I put in. When I first started blogging earlier this year, I felt alone out there. Since I have connected with other bloggers in the blogosphere, I have felt so supported by others in the blogging community through my blogging journey. I have definitely felt lifted by the positive energy of others who are “there” for me, even though it’s a virtual presence.

    So happy that we have connected online, Bill!

    • I’m glad as well; my mama always told me to surround myself with people better looking and smarter and you fit both bills……….:).

      If you see my reply above about people complaining the Chamber wasn’t helping them, it was because they weren’t putting anything into it; they were just paying their dues and expecting people to beat down their door. Just like social, it ain’t going to happen….

      I might whine about the perceived lack of love at times, but I can honestly say I have been supported much more than I deserve and the support has meant a lot to me. I am very thankful for my community.

      PS – I am turning off my apps but still having to re-charge my battery before the day is out. I did not get a car charger but it looks like I’m going to need one. Having said that, I’m still in love with my phone and sleep with it every night……..:)

      • Bill, I want you to try turning off Location Services to see if that is causing your iPhone battery issue. Go to Settings => Location Services => Off.

        Let me know if that works or not. If not, we’ll try something else. If so, we’ll try turning back on Location Services and see which app(s) might be causing the battery drain.

        PS – If you get any more blog love, you’ll have to quit writing posts and spend all of your time responding to comments to your blog. I don’t know how you do it. 🙂

    • Ok, locator service is turned off so we will see how that works today. Thanks for the tech tips……

      You know, if I could just turn some of that blog love into dollars then I could quantify just how much love I’m getting. Probably be a sack full of pennies…………..:)

  7. I think it works as long as we as individuals enjoy it. Just like real life (because of course, it is), we will love it some days and not so much other days, people will come and people will go. On a spiritual level you attract exactly who you are supposed to attract exactly when you are supposed to attract them. Most people who stick around blogging do so not because they hope to “someday make money at it” but because there is a need that gets met that is otherwise unfulfilled in the balance of their life. And that is OK. In fact, it is a good thing.

    I do it because I love to, because that’s where my clients come from, and because I attract and meet and have the chance to discourse with so many thoughtful, intellgent people that I otherwise would never have known. They are located all around the world, not just those in my neighborhood. Many of them have indeed become good friends who I speak to all the time, who help me grow, and sometimes I even help them. I may never meet them in person but it matters not – we are a great part of each other’s lives. I think that’s pretty cool.

    • Wow Julie, that was kind of deep but had so much truth to it. If I’m here doing it, then it was meant to be, right?

      The big bonus for me was the doors it has opened allowing me to meet some pretty incredible people, like yourself. That has to be worth something, right?

      It’s not because I don’t think I could make money at it; I would just have to have a completely different mindset and model to accomplish that and I’m not ready to put the time and effort to make that happen. For now, I’m perfectly happy to just connect and write.

      If you are willing to give, you will be repaid many times over; thanks for your comments.

  8. My blog is very civil — and I like it that way! I’ve found 33 new subscribers in the past two weeks alone, so it’s clearly appealing in this respect. It’s not boring, and the civility attracts and keeps smart, interesting people coming back. That’s (only) who I want!

    I disagree that these on-line relationships lack value because they are thin. Some are, but I have been amazed and pleasantly so, by those who have reached out to me; just today I heard from someone in England who found me on LinkedIn, inquiring how my new book is doing. I think like attracts like: I don’t “do” acquaintance, so I keep my circles small and helpful.

    • Civil, huh? No mudslinging allowed? My posts are pretty benign as well. I think I can get my message across with civility; if it’s boring to some, then so be it.

      That’s great on the subscribers; I think I have 3 and one is my mom and her friend Mabel. But they never get too nasty with their comments. One time they tried to be anonymous but I knew who it was…………kidding of course………

      I think the relationships are what you make of them; just like in real life. Maybe the article was looking at it more from a national brands perspective and what kind of outreach they really have trying to reach their audience.

      To me, it’s one relationship at a time and then we will go from there.

      I think this is your first time here and if so, welcome and thanks for the comments. I will definitely drop by your place and you might even get your 34th subscriber in two weeks.

    • Just subscribed, my fellow Canuck! I read that you’re living outside of NY city now. I’m a former York U kinesiology grad (way back in the 70’s), and see you went to my brother’s alma mater, U of T.

      So today, in addition to “someone from England”, I’m someone from Ontario, reaching out to you today to say…can’t wait to tuck into your blog. Cheers! Kaarina

  9. Another insightful post Bill!

    For me, my main goal when I started on social media was to find people who wanted what I had to offer and of course get them in my business. I admit it, I’m guilty.

    But since being on all these sights I learned the real way to be attractive online and that’s just by being you. So I now share what I want with my friends and followers and boy have I made some great connections along the way. Have they joined my business or purchased anything from me? Not at all but I truly care about the people I’ve connected with and it has nothing to do with business. I have no doubt that a lot of these relationships will last through time and that we genuinely care about each other.

    Although Mr. Haque may think that some of these connections are artificial, maybe that has just been his experience. I definitely can’t say the same.


    • You are not guilty of anything except jumping in and finding your way. Sometimes you have to scrape your knees a few times to figure things out. And that is not even to say your original plan was bad or wrong.

      I just hear people complain about this being an echo chamber and maybe it is to a certain degree; but I liken it to me and you sitting on your front porch having a chat. We might say some of the same stuff but we will also bring something new. It’s really not much different in social.

      It certainly is a learning experience and when I jumped in it felt like I was going Mach IV with my hair on fire. I knew that would not be sustainable. I’m glad I figured it out for myself sooner rather than later.

      So good to see you today; hope your weekend went well. I really liked your post about your dad.

  10. Hi Bill,
    I have to agree with Betsy, though perhaps not as eloquently! Online is just a different level of life. To compare it with the offline life, we have to bring what’s online off line. We do that when we meet in person and even, to some degree, when we have a video chat. To say it’s another level of life is to say we just take who we are and what we’re doing and put it online. There is the learning curve, the relationship building (including community building) and the monetizing. We’re all trying to figure it out and do it the best we can, just the same as if we were all moving to a popular part of town and setting up shop, or all moving into a nice residence on campus and getting to know people.
    But because it’s all so new, we try to figure it out.
    As Adrienne said, you have to be you – online, offline – doesn’t matter. The truth shows! We may as well have fun with it, set our goals and learn how to make them reality.
    If one has done it, anyone can.

    • Did you just say ‘if I have done it anyone can’? Which is probably true…….whew, I was green as a booger coming in and I was doing SO much the hard way; it’s amazing I didn’t burn myself out earlier. I guess the newness kept me going………

      Online, off line, it’s all included in life and hopefully there is not that much disconnect between the two. Pretty much anything I would say online I would say in person too.

      Whenever I write about my experiences, they are mine alone and whereas they might have been similar enough with yours you can easily identify with them, they are still unique to me, right? Therefore, that takes some of the echo out of the echo chamber in my opinion. Also, there are still new people coming in all the time who haven’t heard the story yet.

      Yes, we are all still learning, aren’t we?

  11. Hi Bill,
    It’s the potential of the social media that fascinates me and I’m not sure how to utilize or realize that potential.You do cultivate a lot of “thin” relationships but like in fishing you occasionally land the big one (a really good friend or a large client). And you learn a lot about yourself that perhaps you didn’t know before. On the internet and during travels I seem always to connect best with Australians. I haven’t a clue what that signifies.

    • Sir Riley, it’s like our brain; how much of that are we fully utilizing? Social might be the same way; if we could just tap into 20% of its capabilities it might make us richer beyond our wildest dreams. The potential is there; I’m just waiting for some of that magic dust to be sprinkled on me for clarity.

      I know about landing the big one in my line of work; I have also kissed a lot of frogs to get there (wait, is that two different stories……….:). It still comes down to relationships and how deep you want them to go.

      I have some Aussie’s too as good friends; it must be their nature.

  12. I think the article makes some very good points, but I think your counter is very strong: “For me, it’s like one big Chamber of Commerce social. I attend these often and whereas I might not do business every time I attend, I am making relationships that will create opportunities later.”

    IRL, if you meet 100 people, how many will end up being close friends with? Not many. You will establish different levels with everyone — and no relationship at all short of exchanging biz cards with the great majority.

    SM seems very similar to me. It is what you make out of it. You’ve been very successful and put a lot into it — and I can see that you get a lot out. But the key is that your expectations are realistic. And I think that is a problem for quite a few.

    PS. You’re becoming quite the social media philosopher Bill! 🙂

    • The Big Aristotle, huh? Oh wait, I think Shaq coined that phrase.

      The more I delve into this, the more it mirrors what I do in real life. Whereas it might not look like I am a man on a mission, the Chamber strategy has worked well for me AND it allows me to have fun doing it.

      Just like anything else, you need to be willing to give. Otherwise, you will probably be disappointed in your results if you are just a ‘taker’.

      Good to see you my friend, hope all is well.

  13. I don’t speak Southern so I am not sure if you will understand this but for Al’s sake I’ll speak slowly- The SEC sucks. 😉

    People who say that you can’t develop real relationships online have never spent real time online or are social misfits who should be locked in a cage and forced to listen to my neighbor sing. It is worse than waterboarding but legal so for now I have no fear in making others share my pain.

    Be nice. Be real. Be real nice and good things will come to you.

    • The only reason I’m a SEC guy is because both of my kids went to Auburn. My FSU Seminoles are in the ACC (also known as a basketball conference) so I haven’t had a lot to hang my hat on lately. I do know they would kick ass in the PAC 10 or 12 or whatever it is these days……….

      There are certainly some social misfits in social and if it wasn’t for online they would probably have no relationships at all. And that is not a knock on these personality types, it just is what it is and fortunately they do have an outlet to ‘socialize’.

      Be real nice is a good mantra to follow. Almost like ‘you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose; but you can’t pick your friend’s nose’, right?

      Good to see you Jack.

  14. Hi, Bill.

    When I got into social media almost two years ago, my intention was to boost my online presence. Now, it is more like connecting with people I have known in the span of time that I’ve been online. The search ranking still matter, yes, but it is less important now.

    Glad to have read this, mate. 🙂

    • Hey Wes, I got into social because I thought it was supposed to be social; kind of like Facebook. However, when I got ‘really in’ I saw people were using it as a business tool and I felt like I had to do the same to justify my existence. That mentality became a slippery slope for me so I just reverted back to my Chamber of Commerce strategy.

      I’m ‘in’ social now and if I need it to take me in a different direction I am fully prepared to make it happen.

      Thanks for stopping by; hope to get to your place later.

  15. It’s what we make of it Bill! If we make sure we are connecting with real people (as opposed to automated ‘bot’ things) and then treat them as individuals in a positive way then we will have an enriching and enjoyable experience.

    If on the other hand we don’t allow our personalities to shine through everything we do in social media and treat every connection as a statistic then the experience and the relationships will indeed be very thin.

    I salute you for another thought provoking post Bill 🙂

    • Thanks Tony for the comments. I always thought it was about the relationships and I saw so many people trying to blaze their way to monetization and seemed to leave out this part. Then they were bitching and moaning why this wasn’t working for them and that ‘social’ sucked.

      That is why I used the Chamber reference because I see the exact same thing.

      Unless you are at the very top of this mountain, I think you can get too hung up on the stats and forget what’s important. If you take care of the little things first I thing it will pay big dividends and everything else will fall into place.

      Good to see you and hope all is well in your neighborhood today.

  16. Great post, Bill, and everything said in the comments, love the analogies of Chamber of Commerce and Playground, not so far apart after all.
    I am me wherever I go, be it in real life or online, this last year’s blogging experience has taught me a lot and changed me in many ways, I have become more courageous, outspoken and tolerant.
    And apart from the gurus I have met some really nice people who enrich my life!

    • Oh come on, you don’t have to call me a guru………..doh…………….

      Courageous, outspoken and tolerant are things I have learned and improved on as well. I’m treating it as a learning experience and yes, sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

      I have met some great people as well; including yourself.

      Thanks so much for the compliment and dropping by; hope all has been well this week for you.

  17. Hi Bill

    Like so many things, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish in the first place. But I will give my two cents on the assumption that social is being used to further a business initiative.

    To me, social has to be put into its proper perspective. It isn’t necessarily a strategy itself, but more of a tactic to help achieve a larger goal. If we haven’t clearly defined our value proposition as a business, and in turn our overall communication strategy to help articulate that vp, then all the random conversations in the world are unlikely to be successful. If all of our communication eggs have been put in the social basket (or the networking event basket, or the mailer basket, or the speaking engagement basket, or the webinar basket – you get the idea), we are setting ourselves up for burnout and failure. However, if it is just one part of a strategy with a targeted message and audience, then I think that is when it becomes effective and sustainable.

    It’s all still just communication. We have to use various mediums and vary our audience to truly get our message out there.

    • I concur Kevin, it CAN be a tactic used to achieve a larger goal. If it is your only strategy, then you have really limited your chances for success. This is where burnout and failure comes into play and I have see way too much of it already on this side of the social arena.

      Some might think a little social is better than no social for a business strategy, but if you don’t have a clear plan it might actually do more harm than good.

      Yes, it is still just communication and yes, we still have to deal with people so act appropriately and you will be on a better path for success.

      Good to see you and thanks for stopping by; hope all is well at your place.

  18. Thanks for the shout out Bill!

    I re-read my post that you reference. We have different viewpoints. Mine is my investor finance viewpoint related to values of the networks and whether and to what level a business should buy into social.

    We are VERY social. But 99%+ of this takes place off of social networks. I agree with your points because I wouldn’t know you without Social Media. But when Facebook touts 800mil users without saying details and a small business person buys that hook line and sinker that is where I step in. Or when the press gives Facebook the $100b valuation the average person won’t go to the Fortune 500 see who is worth $100b and decide if they are worth it.

    I did this for the bubble. When Priceline was worth $14b you could of bought America, United, and US Air including all their planes gates network etc for that price. (yes they have profit/debt issue but nothing beats hard equity like a plane!)

    So when you come to me showing me your new client you git from the Twitter, I will ask how many clients do you have and how many were from Social. And when you say 1% from Social I will say ‘That is why it is part of the bigger whole but not the whole’.

    Then you curse us finance folks. But aren’t you one of us? And us finance folks never sneeze at 1% btw. Those points add up!

    • 1% of a big number can be a big number and depending on who you are trying to reach it still might be a big enough number to be effective. The one off is, once you have effectiveness at that level then the outreach can spread through other mediums as well.

      Social by itself is probably not getting it done and I referenced your article because too many people try to tout the 800 mil customers and what it can do for your business. Trust me, I don’t think anybody or any corporation is influencing me on Facebook. Now, if I see one of my friends say something it might lead me to check it out, but that’s even a big ‘if’ because I just don’t follow it that closely.

      At my level, I’m ok with trying to keep it on the Chamber of Commerce level; this is what will keep it sustainable for me. Whereas, I probably won’t do business with the Chamber people; the mom and pops, one of those Chamber people will know the owner of the business I do want to develop a relationship with.

      I knew you would have an intelligent retort as your post was accurate. I was just trying to bring it down in how that relates to me and what I’m trying to get out of social.

      Good to see you, and great post at Nancy’s today.

  19. Bill,

    I’m always a day or 2 late and it seems like everything has already been said.

    I rarely think about the relationships I have through SM. If I like you, I talk to you. I’m a simple person with simple ways. I have started to forge simple relationships with people I would miss if they suddenly stopped being on FB or Twitter or my blog (like you Bill) but I never came to the Internet to look for these relationships, they just happened.

    Online relationships are not as shallow as we think, they are just a different sort. They can be shallow or they can be deep. It is up to the people in it.

    Remember the days before the telephone? (I guess none of us would, lol) You know, Little House on the Prairie days? People had to write letters. It was slow but that is how relationships maintained across the land. SM is sorta like that but WAY faster.


    • Yeah, what’s up with that? You think the beer is still going to be cold after two days, or any even left?

      I don’t care when you come, it is always a pleasure to see you.

      I couldn’t agree more in that I did not get into social to meet people or develop relationships; it just happened along the way. That is the one thing I can do very well so it was just a natural that was the easy part for me. The analytics and measurement…… zzzzzzzz……sounded like work and it was about to chase me off. Fortunately, I have found my place in social and not I’m ready to rock and roll…………

      I’m already missing some friends and more seem to be dropping by the wayside weekly. A sad day indeed……………

      So good to see you and thanks for stopping by to say hello. If I don’t talk with you again, I hope you have a great and happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Very interesting take:

    “Despite all the excitement surrounding social media, the Internet isn’t connecting us as much as we think it is. It’s largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.”

    And I think it’s absolutely true. Let me explain. Of the thousands of people I’m connected to on Twitter, I only have real relationship with a very very small percentage. And to be honest, that’s all I want to have a relationship with. I simply don’t have the capacity to have relationships with everyone. Anyone with a large following through any social media venue only has a very small percentile of authentic relationships.

    The person who has fewer connections, has more powerful connections because he can give more of his time to those he’s connected to. The guy who has 50k connections just has them for the look. There’s no possible way to really be engaged with a stream of that size.

    I still find that there’s value in being connected to people…even without having real relationships. But the real reality is that the best relationships are those that are had in areas outside of social media.

    • I guess what I struggled with, is I didn’t really have a platform to have 10,000 followers hanging on my every word, nor do I necessarily want that. When I realized that wasn’t my model and it was ok to keep this social for now, I didn’t need to worry about numbers, measurement, hits, retweets, etc. I think I was lured in initially thinking that is what you have to do to really be ‘in’ social. And that’s not the case because the majority of the people I know are schlupping around just like me; it’s just they might be calling it something different.

      There is value to being connected to people and you never know when there might be a benefit to that. However, relationships can be developed online or off line depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it.

      Good to see you, hope you have been well; haven’t had a chance to talk much lately with you. All I can say if you are putting all of your money on Tebow, the defenses will adjust to how one-dimensional he really is right now. You can only win ugly for so long…

  21. Hey Bill!

    I tried to read all the comments before mine but I’ve just been showing up at the party too late these days to do that completely.

    Anyway, I think Social is just another bubble added to those we already have. I liken it to blowing bubbles from one of those big plastic circles with all of the little circles inside of it. When we blow on it, hundreds of little bubbles are formed.

    One might be the bubble of your family. One could be your friends from high school. College friends would be in another bubble. Then there is the bubble of the people you still talk to from your very first job. Perhaps you moved around a lot. Each set of friends from a different place has its own bubble.

    Social is just another bubble in that grouping. It’s another wonderful way to meet new people, share ups and downs, (Yes- to make money, too), learn new points of view and share your thoughts and ideas with others.

    I don’t know about you and everyone else here, but I like ALL of my bubbles. They each bring their own value to my life. With all that air it takes to keep my bubbles afloat–just don’t call me an airhead!

    • I like all my bubbles too (and that was a good analogy) and social just happens to be one of them. Some have overlap and some don’t, but that’s ok. And just like your flesh and blood friends, some relationships are deeper than others, and that’s ok too.

      I did a little bit w/ Facebook before twitter but that was personal and so I didn’t really just let it all hang out over there. Once I got into twitter and blogging, it was a little different story. What I did not expect was how the majority of people were using twitter as a business platform. I’m still ok with social for now, and now that I have figured this part out I think I can keep it sustainable. Before, I was trying to move at Mach IV w/ my hair on fire and I really didn’t have a reason to do so. Silly me, huh?

      So good to see you and hope all is well. I hope you and your family have a very happy Thanksgiving.

      • I think we all try to move too fast sometimes. It’s the nature of the beast. It seems as though you’ve found your stride as you mentioned that you’re quite happy with the way things are here right now. Good for you!

        You and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!!

  22. Hey Bill,

    I’m actually not sure. I know it all seems awesome, and that people online are just as brilliant as they are offline. But, what happens as soon as you’re going away for a long time? I thought a lot about this when I was more or less offline for five weeks (when I was living in a tent for the summer). Would people miss me, and would they be there when I finally came back online? I had to hustle, but I’m back and it’s like it used to be, but I’m not sure if it would have been exactly the same if I didn’t work hard to maintain the relationships. But it’s probably the same offline as well 🙂

    • I think you have to work hard on and off line and you have to do this while life if going on around you. Because we have ‘access’ to the online crowd just about everyday, it might be easier to stay in contact with those people.

      The good news is, you can get back to where you were but it is not a given; it will always require work. Kind of like working out at the gym, you never reach the optimum level of fitness where you don’t have to work at it anymore.

      Most depends on where you want to focus your efforts, and how much time you have to give it, right.

      Good to see you; hope you have a great weekend.

      • That’s true. I find it easy and hard at the same time. Have you read the ebook by Leo Babauta called FOCUS, it’s free. It’s awesome. I downloaded it from his website.

        I’m having a wonderful weekend. And I’m about to make pizza 🙂

        Hope you’re at the beach and enjoying the wonderful weather, because I know I would if I were anywhere close to where you live 🙂

  23. Hi Bill…I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! This is a great post…the first thought that came to my mind when reading it is “everything in moderation” (maybe it’s because I ate WAY too much for Thanksgiving 😉 ) I am finding a common theme out in the blogosphere lately and it seems to be about figuring out what social media has to offer in relationship to networking in the real world. There seems to be a general feeling of almost “oversaturation” that has occurred to many that are involved in social media…that maybe we got too seduced by the awesomeness of social media and we forgot to balance our lives maybe? What comes up for me as I read each of these posts is that it’s not all “black and white” or “all or none”…that we need to be able to discern that which is important to us from that which is fluff…just like we have always done in the “real world”. Social media, as you point out, is here to stay and will continue to evolve. It is up to us to learn how to utilize and maximize it’s potential in a moderate manner so that we don’t burn out, get disenchanted or place all of our eggs in one basket.
    I think that I get the award for having the most adages in one post today 😉
    I always love reading your posts Bill.

    • Hi Claudia, thanks for the compliment. Thanksgiving was great, and no, I did not eat in moderation………:).

      When you first get in social it truly is like trying to drink from a fire hose but you still try to drink it all. Once you get somewhat comfortable, and if it doesn’t chase you off, then I think you can find your balance easier.

      Some people have the misconception if they just work harder and longer they will be successful. Maybe, maybe not; but you have to work smarter as well. If you have a business model that leaves little room for success, all it might do is get you frustrated.

      Ah, the most adages; that Dorman is the wise one isn’t he………………doh………..:)

      Great family pic on Facebook BTW. Happy Thanksgiving and hope your weekend goes well.

  24. Hey Bill,

    I think social has a very positive impact if you indeed try hard to develop great relationships on internet. I think it needs to have an element of global as well, without which probably we will have only a local perspective which may not be complete.
    I was frankly suprised by number of greetings on my facebook wall yesterday( one was from you 🙂 ). I never got so many greetings on my birthday not even in the childhood or college days. That means people across the globe want to connect with each other and want to share good things/happiness with each other.
    I think social media as a concept is bringing people more closer than ever which is a great thing 🙂

    • Social is a great connector and it really does have significant potential for opportunities. The key is to find your place in the mix. I think some people have the misconception it will make them different than who they are in real life. If they are struggling in real life and have no real direction, it’s probably just going to manifest itself in social unless they are willing to make some life changes as well.

      I had to laugh at the number of greetings I rec’d on my birthday; I wonder what would happen if I won the lottery. Talk about people coming out of the woodwork……:).

      I really like the global perspective of social; it has really broadened my horizons. As always, I do appreciate the visit; hope you had a happy birthday; and I’ll catch up with you soon.

  25. Hi Bill,

    Bang on!

    Just yesterday when I was staring at the blogs for too long and my fingers typing to no ends…my mom asked me this ” Is it worth any of the trouble; do you whether these people are people or just automated something sending out posts?”

    We all have our various reasons to be here… and it might be personal for many but the whole point is that the sense of community counts. I might get worried if I don’t see people around for so many days; if their posts are missing for long, I might wonder. So yes, the sense of responsibility to “members of the group” does exist.

    Also, if they write about how low they are feeling, then people try to cheer them up. If they mention that they need some help, then tons of people flock in for that needed comment, click and like and to do whatever they can.

    So yes, the bubble might exist but people really do care. And they worry and they are perturbed. That says it all!

    New look… nice!

    • The sense of community does count; I also think this ‘bubble’ mirrors real life, it’s just we have the opportunity to see each other just about every day in social.

      I start with the relationships and if it leads me down another path later, then I will be in a position to take advantage of it. However, I don’t have some pre-set plan when I reach out and start engaging with you.

      You know, you could have started with my latest post; you didn’t have to dig back through the old ones………..:).

      I did change the look; I’ll see what kind of comments I get and decide if I will stay with it. I like it ok, I guess…….

      Good to see you and thanks for seeking me out. I hope your weekend went well.

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