Friday, May 29, 2009

On the benefits of being socially slow

Kansas City BBQ in San Diego? by Marc Smith used under a Creative Commons License

I'll grant that when you have a Web 2.0 presence, you are surrounded by people a Web 2.0 presence. It sounds obvious, but this obviously influences your perspective. As I noted previously in my contrarian post on FriendFeed, the number of users on FriendFeed is dwarfed by the number of users on Facebook. And the number of users on Facebook is less than the number of users on AOL. We need to bear this in mind when we're evangelizing people to get on the social media flavor of the moment. Those that don't jump in with both feet are not necessarily ignorant Luddites.

Lauren McKay was helping her business-owning aunt, Karen Adler, to establish a Facebook presence:

To my surprise, Adler knows a lot about social networking. She gets the basic premise and pointed me to companies that she thinks do a nice job of marketing themselves on the Web. She said it’s something she’s thought about for the past year or so — but just hasn’t gotten around to.

Why not? Because she has a business to run:

With a new cookbook out in bookstores and with BBQ season in full swing, it’s no wonder that she has gotten a little sidetracked. She’s busy putting out daily business fires — no pun intended.

Social media isn't a five-minute set up and then you're done. It takes commitment, carving out time, and the like. Adler also had another concern:

Adler also said she’s afraid of going about it the wrong way. She showed me her Facebook profile that she had set up one day, but hadn’t yet uploaded a photo or any profile information. She’s not sure where to start.

There's two basic issues here - how to do it, and (more importantly) how to do it right. Adler is wise enough to know that communities have conventions, and it's a good idea to understand the conventions before diving into the community. What if she were to establish a Twitter account and immediately follow the first 2,000 people she sees (hey, everyone has to eat!), issue hourly DMs to everyone, and in general engage in behavior that would earn her the enmity of the Twitter community?

Better to slowly do it the right way than to quickly do it the wrong way and leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.

And it isn't like Adler is completely off the web. There are properties that have been set up in her name by others. Check out her biography at, and the video on YouTube, and the Pig Out Publications Store.

So whatever personal accounts that Adler sets up are icing on the cake...or sauce on the pork...or whatever. (I'm not a cook.)
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