A couple of college friends spotted my blog recently and asked why. Some colleagues at work joined Twitter recently and found that I am already on it (in fact, I'm linking to this as my 1000th post), and asked why. In the last three months both friends and family have seen me spend quality time on Facebook and asked why. I gave it some thought. To understand these tools, you have to immerse yourself in it - by diving right in.
As I learn more about interactive marketing - frankly, I know I have a lot to learn - social media is changing our industry. Old approaches to connect with customers and communities are becoming less effective and less relevant. What better way to understand how it is changing than to jump right in, drink from the fire hose and be baptized by fire all at once?
After a few months, I have learned a lot and had fun doing it through Twitter, Facebook, this blog, and other tools:
- I have met a diverse group of passionate social media enthusiasts who have been welcoming to a new participant, including the Social Media Club in Boston.
- I found a group of strangers who love dunkin donuts coffee like it's crack, just like I do.
- I have direct access to some of the folks in PR, venture capital and social media around the country that are defining how the industry will change, and there are amazing conversations taking place that I can participate in.
- I have reconnected with former clients and colleagues who are marching down the same learning path that I am.
- I have caught up with old friends from elementary school, high school, college and work. Not to mention summer camp (former campers who were 12 last time I saw them are now out of college!?).
- I found a die-hard group of Red Sox fans to share a live game experience as if we were all in the same room.
- I watched a campaign to raise money for Cancer research unfold due to the openness and honesty of a few core bloggers.
- I watched a couple of social media companies leverage tools like Twitter to do their own PR about their new firm.
- I have watched companies and individuals experiment, connect, ask questions and contribute thoughts and opinions.
- I have found new ways to leverage being online and being connected every day.
Most importantly, I've experienced first hand how connecting to communities can add value to the experience - in this case my own - and am grateful for the connections. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.