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Living Outside the Social Media Bubble

Social Media Bubble

Warning: This post contains nothing of substance and is primarily just a rambling of my thoughts regarding social marketing. You won’t learn anything here, but you may find someone of similar mind. If so, comments are always appreciated! And if nothing else, this post has a image!

It will come as no surprise to anybody who knows me; I’m not a social butterfly. Put me in a room with 20 other people I don’t know, and I’m the guy sitting back watching everybody interact. Small talk is difficult for me, and I tend to bore people with business talk. In fact, if I’m not talking business, I really don’t have much to say… aside from cracking a few jokes at someone else’s expense (a skill that I have honed to near perfection.)

Just to give you an example, a few weeks back I went to a Kings game at Arco Arena. I spent most of my time analyzing the ad displays all over, how often they changed and how relevant they were. Need more? I watched the Superbowl but didn’t actually see the game. I spent most of the time rewinding the commercials so I could blog about them.

My lack of social and networking skills has posed a significant “opportunity” (code word for “problem”) for me in business. Like many business people, I spend most of my time operating my business and very little developing relationships. For much of our ten years in business, I’ve operated as an island. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve actually started developing relationships in the SEO community. I’ve made it a goal to become known and, to a large extent, I have succeeded at that. The problem is, I still don’t socialize much.

Adding insult to injury, the online world has become a hotbed for social sites. I remember years ago participating in chat rooms on Yahoo, but that was always short-lived. Then it was online forums, and I found one or two to participate in for a while, and then I would disappear. Then blogs, which I scan a great deal but never spent any significant time commenting on. And now there is MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx and a whole host of other social media sites. Not to mention the offline networking functions such as AMA, Chamber of Commerce and other local clubs that bring business people together.

As someone who gets no more than six hours of sleep on weeknights, puts in 50-60 hours a week working at home or the office, tries to make time for my wife and five kids and get in a few hours of leisurely activities each week, I wonder, how does anybody have the time to socialize?

I suspect for some it’s just a way of life. For people like me, it’s a chore. I’ve got a friend who can strike up a conversation with anybody anywhere. I don’t like to small talk, so talking to anybody, anywhere is more of a chore. Sure I can make a good crack about someone, but that’s not the fast track to making friends.

Online socializing and networking isn’t the same as offline, but there are some similarities. Both take time and both necessitate the need to be involved with more than one group. That means building multiple profiles, participating in the community, engaging others, etc. etc. etc. In fact, just about the only difference between the two is whether you meet people fact to face or not.

So here I am, sitting on the outside of the social marketing world (both on- and offline) and slowing working my way in. But here is one thing I know: While it’s good to be recognized within your industry, good social networking should get you outside of your industry. After all, business doesn’t come from your competitors.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

4 Responses to Living Outside the Social Media Bubble

  1. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Matt, you’re hilarious. The difference is that once I know someone then its soooo easy. When I don’t know someone it’s sooooo hard. 🙂 Everything I said is true. And everything you said is true too. But you forgot the most important thing… I kick but at pool!

  2. Matt McGee says:

    You know, I got three paragraphs into this and got upset. You make yourself out to be this complete luddite when it comes to human interaction, unable to speak, have fun, and enjoy other people’s company. But in reality, those of us who know you find you to be incredibly fun to hang out with, not at all unsocial, and not at all difficult to get to know. Dude, stop selling yourself short in this area. We Like You. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Engaging With Your Target Community: Living Outside the Social Media Bubble, Part II » (EMP) E-Marketing Performance