Friday, March 5, 2010

YOUbiquitous Media and the Soul

Atheists do not waste your time reading this post.

If we all agree that we have a soul, and it is our primary meter for the sum total of good and bad we create, perform, absorb and distribute in our lives, then I think we can take that concept and use it, not literally of course, for how we establish, perpetuate, engage and produce in our professional lives.

By this I do not mean how much work do you do, as a professional, for not for profits or for "causes." That is not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is how you establish yourself as a credible professional, execute on that credibility and grow your "good deeds" vs. your bad.

We are human beings, and as such we are prone to make mistakes and whether we commit them knowingly or by accident, these flaws tend to affect others directly or indirectly. On the flip side, we do good and that too has an impact on others.

As a business professional, and more specifically, as someone who works heavily in the digital space, I see lots of both sides of that equation - the good and the bad, and yes even the ugly. The digital space is ripe with very bright and intelligent people. Let's be honest, to stay up with technology in this day and age you have to be very resilient, persistent and determined. The other side of it is that the technology sector tends to make those who understand how to deliver within it successful by most standards. In a free market, capitalist society, that attracts a lot of bright go-getters. It also attracts a lot of what I like to call fly-by-nighters, or by others' terminology, douche bags. I am talking about people who simply pimp out the latest and greatest to try and obtain a quick pile of money with little regard for those who may experience the ill affects of this engagement - for reference see Internet bubble at the turn of the 20th century.

That hard fact rears its head more frequently than I care to say. Enter social media and it's rise to fame and glory.

One of the primary beauties of social media since its infantile stages is its ability for relatively non-technical users (like me) to easily and quickly, get in the game, so to speak. A non-technical user can create a blog (their own little web site that they can alter), a twitter account, a Facebook page, a MySpace page, and the list goes on and on and on and on......

This is great! This leads to new relationships, new ideas, new perspective, new business models, market shifts, etc. and it leads to, as one wise man recently told me, "lots of open ears." What does that mean? Lots of open ears. It means due to the sharing and breadth of information, it does not take someone a lot of time to get up to speed and become an "expert." The experts are vast and eager to self proclaim. Those that are so averse to technology, or are simply too busy to learn about this new opportunity, then rely on these folks for their information or to provide service. That is great, unless the shallow "expert" is creating more bad than good. Then you have a ripple effect not only for the expert and client, but also for the industry as a whole - again reference internet bubble at the turn of the century - or even something a bit more widespread - open today, gone tomorrow mortgage brokers writing and approving unsubstantiated mortgages during the housing boom, which yielded our most recent crash in the market.

So this brings us full circle to the soul of our industry. Everyday I see more and more social media, mobile and digital marketing experts popping out of the woodwork. I see less substance backing much of it up. As someone who was in the industry in the middle of THE internet bubble working for a tech-based start up, those lessons were burned in my mind forever. I ask the market to self patrol and not be so quick to absorb and accept every Tom, Dick and Mary that twitters 1,000 times a day, not be so quick to pat the back of a "presenter" simply because they were on stage. Watch and execute with a critical eye. After all, the souls in our industry that are creating good, will insure that real value remains, insures real goodwill amongst the greater business community (those that pay us to execute), and will ultimately help our industry continue to grow within a legitimate value proposition.

The alternative, I am afraid, is another burst bubble.

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