Social Media as Conversation

This morning, Jeff Pulver does a great job at summarizing what many of us in Social Media have been seeing for the last few years (Jeff included) – that the biggest attraction on the net is the Other People and the ability to Have A Conversation with them.

The Jeff Pulver Blog – Notes, comments and observations

Back in the day, Content was king, but in the world of social media communications, “the conversation” has taken the throne. Sure, content still matters, as does context, but for those of you who are looking to where the next mega trend on the Internet will be, I am placing my bets on something I am referring to as: The Conversation.

Jeff also notes: “By embracing social media, a business can shift from being a monolithic
company name or a branded product and transform themselves to a person,
an individual who advocates and evangelizes.” Exactly. This is part of what I do with companies all the time. By helping people learn to blog, to join Social Networks, or to help develop strategic plans on how to join the conversation, we are enabling companies to have a face – the face of the actual people who work there.

One PR agency asked me how they could write better blog posts for their clients. I told them to teach the client to blog instead. It is rare that someone can post for a company better than an employee who cares about the company’s mission, is seeped in their culture and is passionate about the company’s direction. That was me, back when I worked for Microsoft, and that passion coming through goes a lot farther than any amount of free copies of Windows.

As I start to receive feedback about my Podcast, which isn’t a business venture but is purely a personal and creative effort (see this post about A Chat and A Song) it is the feedback, the conversation that keeps my effort going. In the same way, when a company starts a group on Facebook to hear what people have to say about their product, or to gather their fans together, they’re gaining from the conversation.

In a sense, none of this is new. The ClueTrain Manifesto reminded us that conversations are what markets were always about. We just needed to find a balance. The old era of blasting messages is coming to a slow, lingering end. It’s time to learn how to have conversations. If you want to know more, talk with me, or with one of my many friends in the Social Media arena. I have a whole network of them.

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