“What am I wasting my time on Twitter for?”
I can’t tell you how many people have asked me this. The answers are myriad, but, beyond the shear distraction and fun of having a worldwide water-cooler at my disposal, one of the biggest benefits of social media, to me, has been … access.
Social media is about layers of access
A few weeks ago, Business Week senior writer and blogger, Steve Baker, wrote the cover story for the magazine about blogging and social media. Not too long before that, I’d never heard of Steve and I am fairly confident he’d never heard of me. But, I started following him on Twitter after stumbling upon his account, because I wanted to see what he was up to and I enjoyed his “tweets.”
Knock, Knock, it’s Business Week calling!
While writing his story, Steve regularly asked his Twitter followers for input, at one point asking people to share their feelings about the role of blogs, social media and Twitter. I wrote something like,
“Blogs are the big show, IM/social media is the backstage pass and twitter/micro-blogging is the afterparty. It’s about layers of access.”
Steve dug the quote and a few months later, it ended up, “I” ended up, in the cover story in Business Week. Pretty cool, right?
In fact, this very story actually proves the point of my quote.
Blogging, social media and, especially micro-blogging give you access to conversations you’d never have been able to have … or would’ve been given the evil-eye for trying to join in. And, as more influencers beyond the tech-world join in the conversation, the broader and deeper the access becomes.
How’d you like to land a book deal with a major publisher?
Think that might help your reputation or business? Chris Webb, hotshot editor (actually just changed to even bigger muckety-muck title) from Wiley, is a regular user of social media, especially Twitter. But, even I was surprised when, a few weeks ago, he posted this tweet:
“Pitch me a book idea in 140 characters or less. Go.”
With tens of thousands of people desperately trying to get attention of top book editors every year, here, in the hallowed halls of Twitter, direct access was being served up on a platter. So, we’ve seen how micro-blogging has given access to mainstream print media and major NYC publishers. But, what about radio or TV?
Can micro-blogging and social media give you an in with TV?
How’d you like to be on NBC news? Here’s a big tip. More and more news producers are turning to micro-blogging as a way to find news, sources and segment ideas. Because micro-bloggers are, to a certain extent, self-selecting mavens and, to use Malcom Gladwell’s term, sneezers. They are dialed in and are often sources of huge news and interesting stories and points of view.
Want to be on NBC TV?
Example: NBC 4 Managing Editor (Central Ohio), Ryan Squire, is a regular Twitter user and often not only shares stories, but looks for them on Twitter. Got an idea that’d be relevant to his market and you’d like to see on NBC? Join in the conversation with him.
And, don’t be high and mighty about it not being the NYC market. Just as stories regularly begin in major markets and expand outward, others start local and trickle up to the major markets.
In the end, the conversation is great, it’s also about layers of access.
Blogging is, indeed, the big show. It’s where the meaty, public and sometimes deep conversations and comment debates happen. IM is a nice place to build on those conversations in a more private virtual setting. And, micro-blogging is the after party, that secret place where you get access to the ideas and questions before they even become the conversations that the “rest” of the world sees.
The deeper you follow the exchange of ideas, the more likely it is that magic happens, both for you and for your business. Because, at its heart social media and business success share one huge congruence … they are all about the relationship.
And, with social media, it’s often not about the relationship or conversation you’re having with the customer, but rather the conversation you’re having with the greater community…and the one they’re having about you.
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About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a former hedge-fund lawyer turned serial lifestyle entrepreneur, copywriter, Internet and direct marketer, speaker and writer. You can find him blogging on entrepreneurship and lifestyles at Awake At The Wheel,