The Fear Of Tweeting

Crows by H. Koppelaney

If you just can’t seem to understand the power of social media, perhaps it’s because you haven’t tried it for yourself.

Chances are, that’s because deep down inside you’re afraid to try.

And maybe, just maybe, a bit afraid of the changes that you and your organization will have to make to be relevant in a new digital world.

Advice from on high

The best advice I ever got in that regard came from an elevator.

It was my second job in marketing. My office was high on top of the tower of a manufacturing building on the South side of Chicago. It had a wonderful view of the city, but no one ever wanted to come up to see us because of the truly scary ride you had to take to get there.

The spine-tingling experience was brought to you by a creaky old elevator. The kind you’d expect to see in a vintage black and white French film.

It was tiny. Two people could barely fit in it. Its padded walls were made of old brown leather which embraced you on three sides with a cracked, pot-marked, dark and foreboding patina of gloom.

Worst of all, it had one of those spindly sliding cage doors you had to push hard until it locked before the elevator would move.

Where fear will get you

But despite all the effort it took to make the trip, I’m convinced the main reason no one came to visit was a little sign in the elevator.

Surrounded by scratch marks in the leather all around it, the sign read, “Fear and panic will get you nowhere.”

Good advice when it comes to dealing with the dramatic and sometimes-scary paradigm shifts that continue to take place in the world around us.

Lord, have mercy on the frozen man

So before plunging in full-bore, all a washed in fear and panic, it’s always a good idea to take a minute, take a deep breath and get your bearings before you start the rollercoaster ride.

This is especially true when trying to figure out what social media can do for your organization.

Before you throw your communications effort into the vortex, get your feet wet first by personally experiencing what’s going on out there.

  • Set up a Twitter account and experience the breadth of trivia and the depth of learning you can be exposed to quickly. You can follow my tweets @gordonhochhalte if you think it will help.
  • Set up a Facebook, a YouTube and a Pinterest account and observe the power of community, connection and sharing.
  • Experiment more with your LinkedIn account and see how interest groups and company profiles can offer experience, not just information.
  • Learn the rules of the community.
  • Get experience understanding that you cannot control the message.
  • Learn first hand how to give to get.
  • Experience what transparency and sincerity mean in this new space.
  • See for yourself how participation and feedback lead to co-creation.
  • Learn how to use these tools to listen.
  • Get help.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s your take?

photo credit h.koppdelaney