Social Media is a Funny Thing

Guest Post. Author: Alex Shippee

Social Media is a funny thing. When it’s used well it can enrich a community or fulfill a latent need for an otherwise invisible audience. When it’s used personally, it’s a great way to keep in touch with far-away friends we wished lived closer. But when it’s used poorly, it’s a substitute for generating real value or, worse, a waste of time.

My work in media has been almost exclusively with Web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Delicious, etc. Some of the most rewarding moments are when I look at Hootsuite and see I’ve generated a good amount of click-throughs for the day. Other times, I’ll look and see only one article I tweeted got any attention. It’s disappointing. But building a relevant following – on the web or off of it – can be slow.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months doing the day-to-day work for various Social Media campaigns. Looking for interested audiences, contributing to relevant blogs, and maintaining a strong presence on Twitter or StumbleUpon are important and worthwhile steps. Individually, though, they don’t seem that extraordinary. It takes someone accustomed to the goal of any media to bring it all to life: creating and nurturing the message around a brand.

A lot gets said about the recent generation being especially competent in Social Media and it’s a fair point. But some of the best users of Social Media are people with 20+ years experience in Public Relations or a trained eye for how different learning styles communicate. They know how to leverage the current Social Media tools to generate real value.