Monday, February 7, 2011

Can We All Just Shut Up About Social Media Changing The World, And Actually Change The World?

Self-fulfilling prophecy:

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come 'true'.

In other words, a prophecy declared as truth when it is actually false may sufficiently influence people, either through fear or logical confusion, so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prophecy.

There is no question, no debate, that social media has changed the way we communicate. The telephone did that too. So did the fax machine, and e-mail.

But we still talk to people (not as much), and we still fill restaurants with groups of people wanting good food and good conversation.

What we fail to understand, is that there is a group of people out there who are "selling" social media as a career, and it is they who spend their days telling everyone else that you are either involved in social media, or dead.

If I sold Toyotas, I would spend my days trying to convince others that Toyota was the best car. Sure, there's other ways to get around, but according to me, it would be about the Toyota, and nothing else.

This is how people in social media work. Their "jobs" are nothing more than selling all of us on something that is otherwise free and readily available. They try to convince others that they know the secrets, and that even though they have never had business success, you can if you just write them a check.

You think that's funny? People do it every day.

The drum continues to beat, because it has to in order for these social media salespeople to survive.

And I'm tired of it.

The latest defense of social media is from Tearing Down the Walls: How social media is changing everything about the way we do business.

Up until now, social media has been optional for businesses. But Charlene Li, one of the world's leading thinkers on social media and co-founder of the Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm in San Mateo, Calif., predicts that companies that do not get on the social media bandwagon soon--within three to five years--will not survive. It's not an overstatement to say social media is transforming every aspect of business.

Hear that? That's the cheers of social media salespeople everywhere. We are no longer optional!

In fact, read the article, it quotes a bunch of people about how social media will take over the business world - and every one quoted is in the social media business.

It's not even subtle.

I think social media is great. I like being on Facebook and twitter. I think LinkedIn and Plaxo are a complete waste of time - for me. All these other sites? I have no use for them. I'm not a restaurant hoping the internet surfing tourist comes upon my site, and I'm not selling anything to the masses.

I provide legal representation to clients who have serious problems. My clients ask around. While they may find my name on the internet, its usually (75% I predict) after getting my name for someone. While I think it's important that people can find me on the internet, I'm not looking to grow my business via social media.

So social media marketing as a huge part of my practice is not my thing. If you're a lawyer, it shouldn't be yours either.

Most lawyers who have a big social media presence based on some paid strategy are worthless. I wouldn't hire them to tell me the time of day. They have invested in a big presence on the internet because it's the only way they can get clients.

So stop telling me that social media is taking over everything. It's not. People are still looking for real lawyers, who handle real cases, and get real referrals based on real results.

My clients don't want customer service via Facebook, and they don't want to interact on twitter.

There are real people doing real things, and causing real change - to the world, to the country, or to an individual sitting in their office.

The others are just talking.

About nothing.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

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