Don’t Start Using Social Media

I love what I do. And I love to talk about it. Well, as
you’re reading this, that’s pretty easy to see. I mean, why else would
I spend hours per day curating my Twitter feed, managing more than 100
RSS feeds, researching topics for blog posts, writing blog posts. (And
admittedly, the tech has made it easier. I no longer write blog posts
out long-hand on the bus and transcribe it late at night once my
family had gone to bed.) I’ve told people before (and probably will
again soon) that if they find me two people interested in social media
and emergencies, I’ll go and talk to them. Like I said, I love what I
do.

And I, and many others who do what I do, will happily tell you how
easy it is to get started in social media. Just start listening, we’ll
say. Just create an account and talk with your communities. Be you.
Follow this super-easy flow chart for responding to
comments
.
True, we aren’t as bad as the social-media-guru-snake-oil-salesmen who
tell you that you can get thousands of followers in just fifteen
minutes a day, but that’s really just a matter of degrees. The best
amongst us are sure to qualify the end of our presentations with a
note about the burden of incorporating social media into one’s public
information campaigns. (I once told a conference presentation audience
that because they heard what social media can do, I just made their
jobs twice as hard to be successful at. No one bought me any drinks
that night.)

The other day, I came across this great article that talked about the
dedication it takes to truly embrace social
media

and tagged it with this great line:

[Y]es, you too can be a 25-year overnight success by riding your collective 140 into the sunset.

The author’s point came about because someone didn’t believe that
Twitter could be a useful tool, because you can’t really say anything
in 140 characters. He responded that he agreed and proceeded to list
all of the avenues he’s utilized to build his brand. Newsletters,
email listservs, ebooks, tweets, seminars, speeches.

Social media is a full-time job, and for many, most, all (?) PIOs,
it’s impossible to add another full-time job on top of what they
already do. So it should be done intelligently, with both eyes open.
There should be a plan for success and resources devoted to ensuring
that success. Anything less will fail. And not like your newsletter
that failed and nobody noticed it, but a public failure that repeats
itself every time someone looks up your now abandoned social media
accounts and considers your agency a dinosaur.

So, I encourage all of you to seriously consider making social media a
part of your public information portfolio. (And truthfully, the
pressure to do so will only continue to grow, so start thinking about
it now.) Identify and devote the resources to ensure success (however
you define that). Just come up with a plan to do it first.

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