Monday, November 16, 2009

4 Things Social Media Won't (GASP!) Do For You

Superfamily - Steven & Kim
Originally uploaded by Glenn Karlsen

People are blogging, Tweeting, and yammering on and on about social media these days. If you took in everything being said, you'd think the world had changed so much that some of the most basic tenets of human interaction and business were no longer necessary. You'd also be wrong.

Social media is just a toolbox with a bunch of tools (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Google Wave) in it, and those tools are constantly changing.

Is social media changing the way many do business with one another and even interact socially? Absolutely. Is social media revolutionizing human behavior? No.

Here's what I mean:

  1. Social media won't help you interview better - You still need some of the most basic of social skills. You still need to interview well. Also, you still need a resume, no matter what Seth Godin tells you. Will your activity on social media help or even hurt your chances of getting a job? It can, but in the end you will still need to impress in person (that's IRL for you social media nerds). You can't go into an interview and simply say "Please read my Tweets for information."
  2. Social media won't help you if you're a jerk - You can use social media to enhance your personal brand and make yourself look like a genius, but if you're a jerk in real life it will shine through at some point. It will eventually make it to social media and those who get to know you, that you're a fake or real downer in real life. Soon enough, no amount of personal branding through social media will be able to hide it either.
  3. Social media won't improve your social skills - In fact, it might just hurt them. Sure, you're talking to people more often, but not in person. You're hiding behind a computer screen. It's a safety net that's nice when you just want to wear your pajamas and keep your slightly disheveled hair. Nothing can ever take the place of good, old fashioned face to face interaction. Looking someone in the eyes and having a conversation is far more valuable than a retweet or @. Period.
  4. Social media won't improve your life - It's a tool, people, not a cure for all your ills. Sure, you can find some great inspiration from others. You can learn great workout techniques (like my wife frequently searches for). You can find information on how to live a healthier life overall. You can find tips, strategies, and ideas on how to improve your financial situation. In the end, you still have to get out there and do something.
I know it can be easy to get caught up in the whole, social media is changing everything mentality. We all would love for that to be the case, but it's not. You still have to get out there and act. You still have to work. There's a lot social media can do, but there's quite a few things it won't do for you.


Elise said...

I think you mean TENET, not tenant, in the first paragraph.

Andrew Weaver said...

Whoa. Yes, I do. Good catch. No one occupying human interaction that I'm aware of. Ha. :D

Ina said...

Nice post Andrew,

Down to earth and perfect to remind you that social media is just media after all. And we should continue improving ourselves as real people, not just social media avatars/actors.

Tim Jahn said...

Thanks for the reminder, Andrew!

In the "social media" space, seems so many people get caught up in talking about what "can be done" or "could work" or "should happen" or "might work" but they don't actually DO anything.

As you mentioned, everyone also think "social media" is the second coming and as you've said, it's just a tool. One of many.

Andrew Weaver said...

@Ina - Thanks! You're absolutely right. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the amazing technology we have at our fingertips now, and yet completely forget the human element.

@Tim - Ultimately all of these tools are worthless unless we do something. I think that's what I was trying to get across more than anything. I don't care if you're a self proclaimed expert of social media, if you never really do much but Tweet, blog, and Facebook about social media and all 'it can do' you probably aren't accomplishing much. Chris Brogan not withstanding. :D

Andre Jones said...

I would assume it was TENET not tenant on the first paragraph.

andre of:
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