With all of the things going on in my life right now I face internal struggles every day. I am not going to get into a pity party or start using this blog as a sort of online diary but I am finding that everything I do, feel and think is somehow intertwined with social media. Perhaps I’m a bit codependent on the whole thing. So I started thinking about Social Media as a marketing/PR/Communication tool. (I know, I’m sick)
Anyway, suffice to say I have been a bit troubled, as we all have, and things sometimes seem insurmountable. I feel the need for help. I am longing to connect. I am feeling alone in the world and desperate for someone to just tell me “it’s going to be alright.”
o.k. stick with me, I’m getting to the social media.
Back in the nineties (the good ole days) we were getting used to email and the internets and the world wide web. We were learning how to be surfers of a new wave; an electronic wave. And we discovered these things called Chat Rooms and it was super cool. You could be anyone you wanted. I remember I used to pretend to be someone totally normal, a school teacher, with normal wants and desires and I would play chess and talk about literature with the random people I would meet online.
I met some pretty interesting people too, a firefighter, an astronaut, a scientist working on cloning. All kids of really great people. They were all handsome and well spoken. I had long hair and a Scarlett O’Hara waistline. And the outside world scoffed at us for living these completely made up lives online. The death knoll tolled for real interpersonal relationships and psychiatrists, news agencies and Tom Cruise predicted computers and the internet would bring the death of community and real tangible relationships.
Fast forward to present day and exactly the opposite has happened.
How many of you and your friends have said “I had not spoken to so & so in years and they friended me on Facebook and now we are getting together for dinner” etc etc. There are literally THOUSANDS of these stories. In fact, as I write this I am sitting in New York where I stayed with a friend that I would never have been able to reach out to if not on Facebook. (Thanks Kim both for the couch and the inspiration).
Anyway-I am overwhelmed by how PERSONAL technology has allowed us to become. It hasn’t shut the doors to intimacy but rather opened the doors wider than ever before. Welcoming people more fully into our lives (depending on your privacy settings) and created avenues into richer, more intertwined communities. How many of your acquaintances became better friends when you realized they had all of the same movies on their top 10 list or that they tweeted about a restaurant you mutually admire?
And this revolution of technology bridging the personal divide has never been clearer to me than with my personal life Crisis of late. I tweet I’m having a bad day and would kill for some Taza Chocolate (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm) and lo and behold the messaged me and are sending me a little pick me up. SERIOUSLY, I mean how could that have ever happened before? I cannot wait and not only did it shock me and make me happy but it gave me something to look forward to and kind of restored my faith in humanity. Or at least in customer service and the business model of doing good.
Here is an example of a brand using social media not to sell their product as much as to create lasting relationships with people who love their product. And boy is it going to work because I am shouting their praises at the top of my lungs (and if you know me, you know that is worth a substantial media buy because I am hella loud). AND I am going to use them for gifts both corporate and personal.
The connectivity does not end with the orgasmic chocolate. People who I have never met yet communicate with on my various networks, have responded to posts about my headaches, tummy aches, heartaches and general bad mood with words of encouragement, poetry, funny movie clips and more. My community of support does not begin and end with my mom and my handful of “real” friends. It’s freakin global. And they REALLY care, and I REALLY care back.
And not to cheapen this whole love fest but to bring it all home; if you are a brand or a nonprofit or a business or a musician; whatever it is you are trying to “sell”, don’t you think engaging in this global electronically connected community is worth your time? I mean, how many people are going to put that spicy chocolaty goodness in their mouth and then become Taza Chocolate devotees based on my stories, sharing and gifting of their products? Our collective power as a linked in, passionate, aware community is waiting for you as a marketer and communicator to tap into.
All we ask is that you be honest, authentic and wish us luck when we feel down. If you aren’t talking to us, someone else will!