Thursday, June 3, 2010

Retreat Day 2: The Change Agency

"It won't be easy, just as it wasn't easy for those brave families in their Conestoga wagons, heading across the dusty and dry plains, and then on to the virtually impenetrable Rockies and Sierras. But if there wasn't always gold at the end of the rainbow, there was - almost always - an opportunity for reinvention. A new start. A new you."

- Tom Peters, encourages reinvention and restlessness, "Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age"

When I think of social media, I often visualize American pioneers and their journey of discovery. What was the fire in their bellies that kept them moving forward? What sort of support systems did they rely on when the they were faced with a "bad day." How did they keep their focus? At what point along their journey over the sea and vast land did they realize their success and relish the reward? Picturing the pioneers of our past inspire me to take on the new technology of social media.

Social media is the new frontier plentiful of possibility. Domains are like online real estate and just like the centuries before the cookie cutter subdivisions were created, here we stand with a blank canvas, a land of opportunity. Social media juggernauts are at the starting point of the journey.

Treading along in today's business landscape, I am hopeful yet somewhat anxious. The rate at which technology changes and shifts is speedy and the learning curve is steep. But, step by step, I move forward because it is the future and if I feel a calling, a purpose driving me forward.

Behind me, darkness is beginning to fall on those big businesses, those Fortune 500 leaders who once led all of us to drink the kool-aid from the same communal cup. Their big budgets for too long have controlled the messages and images that we have consumed through those old forms of media. Traditional media once gave us only three channels that worked through our rabbit ears all sharing the same messages on same schedules. Some of us could purchase more channels, cable provided us with options of 350 channels, yet nothing was ever on.

Sure, we had choices and freedoms, we even had the convenience of a remote control that only created us to become more lazy and complacent. The messages through advertising, through programming, programmed us, formed us into a mainstream culture that idolized name brands. Robotically, we digested the messages. At times, we would change the channel, channel surf and that was about all the control we had over the messages coming into our living rooms.

Today, social media gives society so much more freedom from the traditional one way communication. Not only do we have so many more channels to select from, we also have more avenues to comment, share, tweet our likes and dislikes about our consumer experiences. We can choose what messages we want to hear, when we want to hear them. The information highway is not just a one way road. Social media has created multiple lanes of two way communication.

Consumers now have a louder voice than just their pocket books. Now, consumers can tell it like it is and spread their feedback, the good and the bad, on a product or service faster and more effective than it takes you to find a 1-800 number to customer service. How businesses will respond to this new freedom of client feedback? That might be what separates those who will stand and and those who will fall.

And, from where I stand, the horizon of social media is more than just a flat line before me. It is a multidimensional land of opportunity that is going to divide mainstream into its natural habitat. It will impact the way we do business and the way we learn.

We can learn about anything we want as quickly as our wireless connections will allow. Sitting at a keyboard, we can travel anywhere on the informational highway. In fact, it isn't just a cyberspace of information, social media has extended the universe to include entertainment, socialization, consumerism, education and beyond!

Now, all humanity has a voice. Social media is a friend to all humanity, helping small businesses the disenfranchised minorities to become media movers and shakers. Small businesses that don't have the big corporate budgets to advertise will now have a voice and have opportunity to reach out and be a player like they never have before. That is, if they will hop on the band wagon and not be afraid to stake their claim on social media.

For too many years we have accepted the ol wagon wheel. Perhaps the wheel still works for you and you are comfortable settling in to where you are.

This pioneer is seeking more. We're seeking ways to improve that ol wagon wheel. We want to give a voice to minorities, the creative types, those non-conforming identities that you probably don't even realize exist! We're looking for new media platforms and tools that will help us all get to that place, over the rainbow.

We'll tweet ya, I mean, send you an, I mean a post card or a message in a bottle when we get there!


Social Media Maniac of The Midas Center


Mike Bergman June 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM  

Before air conditioning and in the early days of television, people joined their neighbors at picnic tables and backyard gatherings to enjoy a breeze and summer drinks and dishes which featured their home-grown garden fare. True communities, true neighborhoods. Advertising was cost prohibitive for many local businesses, so these face-to-face gatherings formed the foundation that the best way to promote a business or product was by "word of mouth."

Is social networking taking us back to that sense of community and neighborhoods that we experienced decades ago?

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