Much has changed in the last few years. Gone are the days when you needed a techie to assign a new email address. We can do that with little assistance. And every ten-year old can get on Facebook, everybody with something to say has a blog, and gets leads and ideas from Twitter. The business community has embraced LinkedIn and new networking sites emerge every day.
Technology and technology tools are dissolving into the background, and I am grateful. It is no longer necessary to key in your password, your PC assumes you are still the same user as last night. As our search engines get to ‘know’ us, they are contextualizing our searches and making them faster. Semantic engines are guessing at what we’re trying to say and pointing us faster. Applications are sharing information about users and reducing the number of keystrokes we need to get our work done.
Technology can bring us only so much. The secret sauce that makes social media attractive and effective is because we can share ideas and contacts, which hopefully allows us to share more ideas and contacts.
It promises to be a long journey because we are learning to engage with people. Many are still tweaking how to improve their reach using PPC or SEO, which means focusing on keywords and message. The new frontier is learning what matters to our audience and responding to it. This is sometimes obvious: “Comcast hasn’t repaired my cable and I am still out.” Not so obvious when your audience responds to a situation the organization is not equipped to handle:
• US members of YMCA discussing how they might help fellow members caught up Egypt.
• Boys and Girls Club members trying to help children affected by the earthquake in Haiti.
One way is to raise donations, but what if the discussion evolves to offering empty seats on chartered airplanes or adopting orphaned children. That’s real magic.