January 25, 2012

The anachronistic social media isolationist

http://d28v4r73i3n9fh.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/red-velvet-rope-policy-300x212.jpgChris AbrahamTo follow up on my last post, Being pretty isn’t enough for social media success, I wanted to discuss what I like to call Social Media Isolationism or Social Media Agoraphobia. And there are two forms of this sort of isolationism: invitational and exclusionary. They both mean you don’t venture outside your own four social media walls; however, the first is welcoming and the other is dismissive.

The welcoming pineapple

Jay Gatsby was a welcoming pineapple. He desperately wanted to woo his beloved Daisy and opened his grand home hoping he just might, one night, find her at one of his lavish parties. Or, at the very least, create enough buzz so that his lost love might hear of him and ask about him.

Not always the direct result of a grand romantic gesture, the welcoming pineapple is often associated with the feeling that one is so appealing, so compelling a brand, product, or service that your friends and neighbors should very well come a-calling. You host awesome dinner parties, right? You have the biggest television, have your own pool and tennis court, and have several guest rooms. Why would you ever want to leave your own social media home?

Why wouldn’t everyone want to take advantage of your generosity and party favor to want to go anywhere else, to say nothing of staying home in their pallid, beige, one-bedroom apartments? This generosity often comes with the stink of superiority or ego that eventually turns people off.

And if the proffered goodies are so compelling as to compel, this commitment might very well be contingent only upon the bounty, the booty, the swag lavished. In other words, your friends are bought and paid for and are your friends forever (or until you run out of cookies and candies and a subscription to cable).

In terms of a country, this open-border country would be glad to allow anyone in but since this country is obviously so awesome, offering everything and anything you could very well ever want in the first place, people just visit, nobody really ever leaves and a majority don’t even possess a passport.

Good fences make good neighbors

There are other social media isolationists who treat their following like a gardener maintains a Bonsai tree: letting it grow then pruning it back. Limiting its natural growth patterns with the goal of cultivating something elegant, controllable, exceptional, and beautiful — and planned. The operative word here is control.

There is a strong desire among the good fences variety of social media isolationists to want to maintain a semblance of control over brand perception, brand response, and brand buzz. This social media isolationist would surely turn off (or moderate) comments if at all possible.

This form of social media agoraphobic never lowers himself to engaging with riffraff and never suffers fools gladly. In many cases, he blocks competitors, rarely follows anyone back, and limits real engagement to the worthy and the notable. Only A-listers need apply.

This is the sort of social media expert who most likely has a pristine living room with white couches and chairs neatly enshrined in a clear vinyl cover. This is the sort of person who collects beautiful heritage silver and china, never to see the copious staining gravies and beet juice of a holiday dinner.

It doesn’t matter that social media is, by its very nature, chaotic, organic, anonymous, spontaneous, unpredictable, and crazy; it means nothing that the life of something beautiful can readily be strangled out of it when the collar’s too tight; and it means nothing that your detailed business plan and marketing strategy may be too macro, too myopic — that what you’ve made exclusively for one use may well be adopted “off prescription” for something completely different and more profitable — something this sort of isolationist would very well never be able to see.

And, if he could, he wouldn’t want it that way because that’s not the right way and it shouldn’t be done this way. Social media’s just not cricket.

In terms of a country, this walled-up land would be glad to exclude everyone; but, more realistically, it’s willing to limit visas and green cards to only the pedigreed: money, power, influence, esteem, connections, or education. Full funding for controlled borders and everyone had better carry their papers with them. I mean, why allow anyone in, since this country is obviously so awesome.

A majority possess passports; however, why leave? Too much chaos, uncertainty, and people who don’t look like the sort of people they’re used to.

Social media globalists unite

Neither the welcoming pineapple nor the good fences are effective in social media marketing because there are innately no borders in the Internet. Yes, maybe there is are language and cultural barriers, but these are as meaningless as the lines that separate nation states.

The Internet has rendered the world flat. Facebook is expected to reach a billion members in April.

And that’s to say nothing of the bloggers, the tweeters, the pinsters, the borders, the messengers, the redditers, the diggers, the flickrers, the tumblrs, the googlers, and, yes, even the spacers — they’re global, they curious, they’re ambitious, and they have as much right to your attention as anyone else.

Whether you’re an exclusionary or inclusive isolationist, you’re still unwilling to leave your social media homeland. You’re unwilling to go out there and meet your future real best friends. Instead, you either having to buy them or remain too afraid and afeard to make friends at all–or at least the wrong type of friends.

To be sure, you’ll never know where your next windfall will come from. You also don’t know who that fairy godmother is or what she looks like. It’s essential to get out there and spend some of your time and energy going exploring, finding new lands and new faces, and expanding your natural core, your natural base.

While there may well be zero barriers to you because the Internet has flattened the business world for you, there are also zero barriers between you and your best future customers! So, go git ‘em Tiger!

Via BiznologyChris Abraham is a partner in Socialmedia.biz. Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

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    Whether you're an exclusionary or inclusive isolationist, you're still unwilling to leave your social media homeland.