I was originally going to write a post outlining the difference between strategy and tactics, but it came to my attention that not everyone likes the fact that I a) call out bullpoopy, b) argue about semantics and c) tweet around acting like I am smarter than everyone else. Evidently, trying to “correct” people in this and other areas only serves to position me as a know-it-all, and others as know-nothings, which isn’t exactly the friendly thing to do in the big Social Media 24/7 party bubble where I should be… a voice of wisdom, not a voice of negativity.
Over the last year, I have inadvertently turned into that guy at the party who corrects people for their improper use of English, and questions the validity of their tall tales. (Who am I to question how big that fish actually was?!) Nobody wants to be that guy. So… I have decided to stop being that guy.
Yep, that’s right. Starting yesterday, I have decided to stop being so… negative. I am turning a whole new leaf.
Before I can really become the super-duper nice Olivier, the one who agrees with everyone and plays nice no matter what, I need to make amends. I don’t know much about 12-step programs, but I seem to recall that taking inventory of your flaws and asking for forgiveness is part of the process. So here we go:
1. I was wrong to butt into the R.O.I. discussion. Not sure what I was thinking with that one. I should have considered everyone’s feelings. Instead of trying to be right, I should have considered that EVERYONE has a right to be right. So… I was wrong to say that R.O.I. was a business measurement. In fact, it was kind of negative of me to imply that R.O.I. can’t be whatever you want it to be. R.O.I. can be anything you want it to be. You can measure it in followers, hugs, retweets, puppies, mentions… and whatever you want. R.O.I. can be anyoutcome you want it to be, and you can measure it however you want to. It was inconsiderate of me to suggest that anyone had it wrong. Hopefully, business schools will begin adopting new definitions of the term, and accepting that Social Media gurus are just as smart as MBA professors.
2. Social Media certifications are always legitimate, no matter who issues them. The legitimacy of the organization responsible for offering and delivering certifications in the Social Media space is not mine to question anyway, not that it needs to be. See item #3 to find out why.
3. Everyone who claims to be a Social Media expert actually is. How I got away with ever questioning that is beyond me. Thanks for being so patient with someone as obviously negative as I was. (It gives me chills to think about how negative and mean I have been to suggest otherwise!) Overnight expertise on the interwebs isn’t just possible, it is obviously common. Google something enough times and you too can be an expert. Thousands of people did it that way, and you can too.
4. There is no snake oil in Social Media (or in marketing, for that matter.) I made it all up. Everyone is 100% legit. Those R.O.E. equations, those calculators, those content strategy experts, they’re all solid. I was just jealous because they were better at math than I am. Trust everyone. Even when the math is wrong and the facts don’t add up, don’t be like me and expect the worst. Take the stance that… well, the guys selling you this stuff are the experts and you’re not. In the end, it isn’t your (or my) job to question, only to pay their invoices and let them do their expert strategist thing.
5. Nomenclature is completely unimportant. I was wrong to attach so much importance to silly things like what words really mean or don’t mean. Who cares if no one knows the difference between strategy and tactics, after all? It isn’t the end of the world. If people want to call themselves strategists, why should I care? (I shouldn’t.) Likewise, when a major brand’s Social Media Director confuses foot traffic and fouresquare check-ins, what does it matter? (I doesn’t.) The sun still rises the next day, doesn’t it? People still buy burgers, don’t they? Does anyone really care that 719 check-ins were made to sound like over 7,000,000 customers flocked to their 13,000+ locations? Of course not. These sorts of things are INSIGNIFICANT details. I was an a-hole to point it out, and to do so in a less than positive, encouraging way. I see the error of my ways now: Using the right words doesn’t matter. Everyone should be allowed to make up words and terminology whenever they want. That’s the beauty of the internet after all: The freedom to be, do and say whatever you want. To suggest that expert nomenclature comes with expertise was so pretentious of me! Sorry I have been such a party pooper.
So yep, I am turning a new leaf. Starting today, no more posts or tweets about things people do to harm companies or the public. (Since self-serving charlatans don’t actually exist.) No more shining a light on “shady” practices. (There is no such thing.) All I will write about will be positive and supportive, of everyone, without exception. You want less Jerry Springer and more Bono? You got it. David Armano, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Jason Falls, Liz Strauss, Chris Brogan and all of you who suggested – for months now – that I focus on the positive rather than the negative, your wish has just come true. I am finally listening to your collective advice. I am going to be the biggest Social Media cheerleader the world has ever known, starting now.
My content strategy is now this: Whatever I write, I will never offend anyone ever again. Most important of all, my content strategy will be to provoke exactly zero pesky arguments and debates about silly things like… terminology, measurement, ethics or whatever else used to make me such an insufferable, holier-than-thou know-it-all.
What the internet needs more of, after all, is love. Love, I can give. Encouragement and support, even. If you want to build Social Media and Content Strategy consulting businesses out of thin air and cracker-jack boxes, I will support you 100% of the way. You creative equation designers out there, those of you who have reinvented R.O.I. for the Social Web, you are the internet’s true heroes and I will not stop singing your praises until both Mashable and the Wall Street Journal mention you as examples of excellence in measurement innovation. We need more of that, and I have plenty of it to give.
Uncomfortable questions though, not so much. (All they do is make people feel bad about the choices they’ve made, and nobody wants that.) I have learned my lesson: When ethics, values and standards make some people uncomfortable, the proper thing to do is to back off and let them exercise their freedom to do whatever they want. I don’t want to be an obstructionist.
What I really want to be a Social Media cheerleader. It was wrong of me to ever want to be anything else. I let pride and ego stand in the way of being everyone’s best friend.
So my pledge to you from now on is this: Nothing but love, support, and acceptance, no matter what. I can’t wait to help you sell your new words, concepts and ideas for digital and marketing services! Certification programs? Send them my way! ROI calculators? Toss those babies over to me. It’s all good. I will never question anyone’s work again, no matter how um… complex it is.
This is going to be SO much better. I can’t wait!