Why People Don’t Get Social Networking

I was talking with someone the other day about Twitter and the importance of building a social presence.  Their response was, they see how it is important for some people, but for his line of work, it won’t work, especially Twitter.  He had an array of reasons why Twitter, Blogging and Social Networking can’t help him.   His business is too specialized he said.  It’s not going to get him any more business than he already has.

He’s probably right.  But thats not enough of a reason not to build an online presence.  It could get him a new job in the future, it could create a relationship he may need to close a deal someday, it could get him information he needed that he DIDN’T know existed.  It could do a lot of things he is unaware of today, that could help him in the future.  He is not alone.  His thinking is like that of most people I talk to who aren’t actively building and online presence.  It’s too linear.

The problem isn’t him but humanity.  We are purpose driven.

Since the cave man days our actions have been purpose driven.  If you wanted something from the guy across the cave you got up and took it from him.  If you were hungry you went out and killed some food.  Over the years we became more civilized, but we were still purpose driven.  If you wanted to talk to someone you sent a letter.  If you wanted a job, you applied for it.  Then the phone and T.V. came along.  Still driven by purpose, you knew who you were calling and why and we knew what we were going to watch on TV and when.  Communication has rarely,  if ever, been done without a direct purpose.  Everything was linear.  We played in the known.

Social media and social networks play in the unknown.  They aren’t linear.  They aren’t purpose driven.  When we tweet something, we don’t know who we are tweeting or if someone is even their to receive it.  When we blog, we don’t know who is going to read it, or who is going to comment.  We don’t know if people will like it or hate it.  We put our stuff on LinkedIn not knowing who if anyone is going to find it.  Social media is anything but purpose driven.  It’s this reason most people don’t get social media. They are thinking from the linear brain we’ve all been indoctrinated with.  If doing X doesn’t get me Y right now, I don’t have time.

Social media and social networking don’t work in a linear fashion.  They operate in a broader, less confined manner.   Users have to be OK not knowing, not getting what they want right away and able to handle getting what they didn’t expect.  Social media and social networking give life to the phrase; we dont know what we don’t know.

Many people see it as a waste of time.  To the linear mind it is.  It’s not like a phone call or and email.  It’s not like getting up and walking across the cave and getting what you want.  What it does do, quite often is give you what you didn’t know you wanted and many times that’s far more valuable.

It’s easy to focus on getting what you want and thinking in a linear fashion.  It’s measurable.   It also requires you block everything out.  Social media and social networking are different, they get you what you didn’t know you wanted and that’s a big deal.

Social networking and social media expand your world.  They make you more accessible, they provide more information, they extend your influence.  If those aren’t reason enough to “get” social media it must not be linear enough.

Social media and social networking have a place, it’s just going to take time to change 10,000 years of thinking.  It’s time to get out of the cave.

Enhanced by Zemanta