Social Media is MORE useful if you’re not a geek or PR pro

March 21, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

This post is for the people who aren’t reading it: those who aren’t active Twitterers or bloggers, and who don’t have a product or service that revolves around technology or new media PR. Those who aren’t like us (yet) can benefit the most from social media.

Elizabeth has led me to write this post–she’s a law student, former Teach for America teacher, and far from technical. She has more to gain from social media than most of us as she offers something unique. (Do you know too many lawyers on Twitter? People in the education policy space?) And if there’s one community to be attached to, it’s the bloggers and Twitterers who can spread the word faster than you can drink a bottle of wine.

Case in point: Gary Vaynerchuk. His contagious, hiliarious personality is legendary (I love you, Gary!), but much of his success is that sommeliers and vintages aren’t spreading their message to 20-30-somethings online, and they’re not participating in the social media community. He’s the guy I think of when I think of wine–and the only wine expert on any of my feeds. If Maryland let me receive wine by mail, I’d buy from his store. But if you wanted an expert in new media PR, technology, or even web design, you could throw a few darts at my Twitter list and find one.

I’ve been networking for business for six years now. Traditional business networking is more about what you do and finding a place for it–that’s because (unless you hire them) you’re not going to see these people all the time, there’s no vested interest. Social media networking can be different–it can be as much about getting to know people as their line of work, because you can keep up with them (their person) all the time (via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc). While all networking is about relationships, you can build relationships and be known by many more people, much faster, online. In business networking there has to be a compelling reason to get to know someone, in social media networking you can get to know (almost) anyone regardless of whether there’s business to be had right away.

If you or someone you know is wondering whether building relationships online is a worthwhile path, it IS. It’s a path that leads to relationships with people who know a lot of people, know how to spread a message, and don’t need you to be a CEO of a big company to want to talk to you. And, I personally think there’s a lot of great people there, too.

So get started:

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7 Responses to “Social Media is MORE useful if you’re not a geek or PR pro”

3 Trackbacks

  1. The Modern Journalist » Social Media is for Geeks. But You’re a Geek Now, Too.
  2. – Participation on the Interwebs (and AllTop)
  3. – A quick guide for listening to what the world is saying about YOU


  1. A. Alaalas

    Sounds a lot like using your Masonic network or Alumni Association network, only I suspect such iconic structures are more “trusted” than social media. “You can always count on someone if they wear a Masonic/Aggie class ring.”

  2. Jared Goralnick

    AA, thanks for the comment but I’m not so sure it’s like that. Yes, it’s a way to build a trusted network, but there are (at least) two chief differences:

    * Trust is based on actual contact and reputation not something silly like a shared organization. I use the word “silly” being tongue-in-cheek, but I think we’re coming of an age where there are better forms of validation than being in the same club (assuming that you didn’t know that person well). People with an online presence are people you can find a LOT about before working with. It’s a very good reference test

    * Anyone can get involved in social media. If you want to email Guy Kawasaki or Robert Scoble, they’ll probably read it right away and if it’s a thoughtful enough email they’ll likely write you back. Social media is an open club.

    So, no, I don’t think that this is any way like a “membership org” or old boys’ club. The requirements for joining are different and the methods for proving yourself are much more democratic.

  3. Brick Andrews

    This is timely for me – I am late to the social networking thing. I have recently started on twitter, but ironically not for the social networking aspect – I liked the microblogging concept – twitter “tweets” (is that what they are called?) are the things that happen between blog posts – so it works well as part of my blogging strategy, where I can make small “posts” between pillar content.

    Of course, now that I am there, I am starting to explore the social component. BTW, I just started to follow you on twitter moments ago!

  4. Elizabeth

    I think the essential premise is that you have an idea or message that you want to spread. I didn’t really get that at first and so didn’t see the value in social media to a tech outsider. But once you think about it as a tool to address an issue that requires communication to make progress, social media is just a world of opportunity waiting to be tapped.

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