Do they practice what they preach?
Conversation is a currency. It takes time, money, and intellect to create. If you request someone’s time, money or intellect, you are spending their currency. Likewise, in order to efficiently make more currency for yourself, you need to obtain it from others at the least cost. While the SM narrative tells us to put our best face forward, what does the kitchen look like? Do Social Media experts practice what they preach? Be careful – it can be quite subtle.
You be the judge
Here are a few case studies that our members contributed:
1. A well known innovation consultant and blogger holds an “Innovation Contest” to solicit new ideas. The prize is 50,000 dollars from unnamed sponsors. The press release goes viral. Dozens of entrepreneurs invest their time and passion to read and follow submission instructions. Later it turns out that the prize was 50,000 dollars worth of the “consultant’s” services. The winning innovation was related to a specific industry in which the consultant had prior experience.
2. A prolific free-lance blogger writes about social media, search engine strategy, and how to “do it right” in social media. The content generally rides along the lines of much existing content with the exception of some worthy new insight. Another blogger re-posts one of his articles because it was relevant to the theme of their nascent blog. Full credit and back-tracks were given. The Free-lance blogger then returns with a scathing letter accusing the re-poster of theft and plagiarism then writes a post condemning all such parasites.
3. A reputable international PR firm sends a solicitation for CV’s to their 7000+ Face book contacts all over the world to fill a social media position requiring English Language Skills. A proficient Canadian applies and receives an invitation to call a number in Asia for initial contact and to schedule an interview. Like any job candidate, they spend time researching the company, their board members, and recent projects. The candidate makes the long distance call and gets an answering machine. Several days later, they receive an appointment to interview in the home office at a specific date and time. The candidate reminds the representative of the PR firm that they live ½-way around the world. A terse response is returned: “unless you are planning to relocate to [Country], then this will not work out”.
The point of this article is to reveal something in ourselves. Do we give more than we take? Do we seek to accumulate information from others at the least possible cost so that we can create something else with it? Do we elevate ourselves on the backs of others or do we elevate ourselves by elevating others? Do we assume people are spending our time wisely? Do we assume we are spending theirs wisely?
Social Media awards a great amount of power to our words. We literally have the power to change the world. We also have the power to waste people’s time, consume their resources, and to deny more worthy people the value of conversational currency. It is a delicate balance, one that needs to be addressed.