An Amateur’s View of Social Media
Circa May 2010
Disorganized Musings

On the evening of May 26, I made my first "presentation" (an informal talk) on social media. The affair, called "Sweets & Tweets," was held in Georgetown and hosted by corporate social media consultant Debbie Weil. I participate in social media somewhat myself, but in no way, shape, or form am an expert. Moreover, I did not spend an enormous amount of time preparing—the talk was intended to be "off the cuff." But with my obsessive penchant for lists (ah, engineers), I did jot a few things down which I shall simply call "musings from an incredibly old guy and unadulterated amateur" on social media:

  1. Social media is not new. SM writ large is LITERALLY what makes us human!!!! Ape brains grew to accommodate socializing skills; aborigines and "songlines;" people trade refrigerators in for radios; etc.
  2. But "modern" social media does change everything: Matt Ridley's new Rational Optimism: How Prosperity Evolves; prosperity (more or less in its entirety) comes from trading-connections (leads to inventions, econ growth); today's SM is wildly accelerating connections (crowdsourcing, etc., etc.)
  3. FYI: SM changed my life. Blogging turned out to be the best marketing tool ever—based on giving away "everything"/90% of intellectual capital, etc. And Twitter caught me totally by surprise—my compulsion for, and emerging benefits of.
  4. I do SM for ONE reason: fun! (Fun makes it loose, social, inclusive—and hence personal and professional ties grow.)
  5. SM does not relationships make. Part of the game, to be sure, and "intimate" (professional) ties can arise. But, at least for now, pubs, dinners, clubs, bars, body language are imperative.
  6. SM is an end in itself. We are simply discovering new ways of interacting—which is, as noted, "everything."
  7. SM is not an end in itself. For me, Steve Jobs, etc. For most of us there's gotta be a great there there: iPad, iPhone, BMW, Cirque du Soleil, speeches (for me).
  8. It appears that brand new organizational forms are arising—"emergent leadership" at Cisco, etc. The nature of implementation of pretty much everything is changing.
  9. Da basics are the basics, always were, always will be. "Thank you." Decency. Thoughtfulness. Integrity. Etc.
  10. Beware "sexy." Napoleon: The simple is the best, and most failure (on the battlefield) comes from generals trying to be "clever."
  11. SM is the ultimate EXPERIMENTAL medium ever. Change. Adjust. Fail. Try again. And again. (On large scale, Google's the master.)
  12. Beware of learning too much from others. Michael Schrage: innovation from "serious play." Gotta try your own combinations, not copy others.
  13. Beware hanging out with too many social media peers. Hyping each other and getting caught up in "SM is all there is" is a deadly sin!
  14. Consider differences: Women and men process differently, socialize differently. (Women around the world are the biggest market, taking over in general, especially among the young/youngish. In developed countries, older/old folks are the most incredible market (size, $$$) in history—and old are surprisingly vigorous SM/Internet users.
  15. Consider differences: Most businesses are small businesses doing "ordinary" things—how can we help them?
  16. Bonus/redux: This is a hoot! Enjoy!

Tom Peters posted this on May 28, 2010, in Technology.
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