I woke up this morning feeling like I wanted to write (as I do most mornings). But, the past few days, I’ve been struggling. It’s not that I am blocked – no, I have plenty of things I could write about.

It’s just that I don’t want to write about any of them.

I’ve been hanging out online, exploring social media, new communication, Web 2.0 – whatever buzzword you want to attach to it – for almost 4 years now. You could call me an old timer, an early adopter, an aficionado. You could just say I’m a geek. All of those descriptions would be accurate.

As cliche as it sounds, social media has changed my life. It’s helped me to meet people who are now very important parts of my life. It’s improved my business, my writing skills, and my confidence in both of those things. I’m passionate about communicating online. I love to share what I’ve learned with others, and watch as their eyes open to this new way of sharing, telling stories, and doing business.

So why is it that I’m feeling so tired of it all?

As I sit here, sipping coffee, I’m combing through ideas for my blog – things I’ve decided would be interesting to write about. But I can’t help but feeling that the world doesn’t need another productivity post, another “Web 2.0 and the future” post, another top ten list, or another “get the most out of social media” post. I’ve lost interest in reading other peoples’ posts like that, so why the heck would I add to the noise?

I think I’m starting to see more clearly what the problem is.

There are a lot of people out here trying to make a go of social media as a business model. There are social media coaches, people to teach you how to tweet, social media strategists, coordinators, community managers…the list goes on. I now see companies publishing request for proposal templates with requirements for hiring social media “companies”.

But here’s the problem. Social media isn’t a business model.

Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for social strategy, or teaching, or community building. I’ve done, and currently do, all of those things. But here’s where I think the difference is – social media is not the centre of everything. I don’t teach social media. I teach communication. I don’t build social media strategies. I build communication strategies.

The principles of communication and marketing are the same as they were 15 years ago – heck, 40 years ago. Fundamental human behaviour – the way people react to the information being presented to them – has not changed that much. The tools have changed. The culture has shifted to different methods of engaging with each other through technology. But that’s pretty much it.

There’s no great mystery to any of this, and I think part of my frustration is that we’re spending so much time out here, trying to teach each other the wonders of social media, when all we really need to be doing is teaching people to communicate better.

Now, I’m not one to complain without coming up with some sort of solution, so here’s the action I’m prepared to take. I’m going to cut out the social media blather. That means unsubscribing from a bunch of stuff. It means filtering my content streams better. It means focusing my work efforts on what I do best – helping people to tell better stories, and helping them to find the best tools to do so.

Social media is out for me. It’s yesterday’s news. It’s done. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting it – of course I’m not – I get far too much out of it. It’s too important to the way I live, and work, and play now. I’m just getting rid of the concept that social media is some type of mysterious, elusive Holy Grail of the Internet that we’re all striving and struggling and fighting to be “the best” at.

Social media isn’t a big deal. People are a big deal.

[photo credit:rick harris on Flickr]

8 Responses

  1. Absolutely positively right on. Exactly what I am thinking about everyday I Tweet, Blog, friend, email..etc. It always comes down to the basic principles of communication. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is still hanging out on my bookshelf with loads of wisdom to help me navigate. Great post, I will definitely be sharing it!!!
    ๐Ÿ™‚ Emily

  2. This is my writing prompt for the day ๐Ÿ™‚ – “Thereโ€™s no great mystery to any of this, and I think part of my frustration is that weโ€™re spending so much time out here, trying to teach each other the wonders of social media, when all we really need to be doing is teaching people to communicate better.” Spot on – I was meeting with someone last night, and told her that I am not trained or excited about the *business* side of things as much as I am about the relationship/communication side of what we’re trying to do.

  3. Well put. Communication is key. It has been and will be. The repetitiveness of the “here’s how to” and “social media is the bomb” (well, you know what I mean ) have caused me to spend less time on-line.
    This is a great post Suze. Thanks!

  4. Sue,

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I am bored with some of the blogs that I subscribe to because they all now appear to be saying the say things and talking about things that I really do not care about.

    Social media should be a part of your communications strategy and for individuals, it should be a part of their community building and networking strategy.

    Thank you! Avil

  5. Suze, I agree with you 100% here. It’s been 6 months since I blogged and that is the very reason why. I’ve spent the time that I would have spent ‘adding noise’ and redirected that to my studies.

    I’ve lit ally spent the last two years getting very deep into metrics, measurement, insights, and optimization. I am now going to be launching a new blog on those subjects.

    The are so many people out the telling you the importance of engagement. I agree most of the time but it’s time to start having a better answer than, “If you don’t your business won’t be relevant”

    Ok, I’m off on a tangent now but essentially I agree with everything you are saying. Yea, we could write about how to get more people to retweet you but it’s all been said before.

    If I had any recommendations for you it would be to always write from your heart. Don’t worry about making a list or even teaching anything. Just provide us with your amazing outlook on life and all of your readers including myself will be richer for it.


  6. You have just summed up the way I’ve been feeling, and much of my vocal ranting, for over a year.

    Seriously. There’s no great big secret, there are no magical powers of social media. It’s an extension of communication, period. Those that get together every other day with a so-called “tweetup” or have at least one conference every month to celebrate that they know how to use the internet to meet people, are (IMHO) really pathetic. Because I got sick of the whole social media orgy I up and quit blogging all together (okay, that, and I got busy with my real job), but I’ve got at least 4 posts similar to this saved as drafts of some stripe or another.

    I’ve been toying with the idea of reviving my blog from the dead for the new year. This post may just be the fire that I needed lit under my butt to do so. But above all else, I’m sooooo glad I’m not the only one that feels this way. Thanks for writing this. ๐Ÿ™‚


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