There are far too many snake oil salesmen in the social media business. If you believed their marketing claims, you might think that social media tools are the remedy for everything that ails you. Unfortunately, as more companies and individuals are finding out, that’s simply not true. Equally, there are far too many uneducated consumers and enterprises who hope that by throwing a social media tool at a problem they might get lucky.
Social media tools are nothing more than tools. Just like a hammer is useless if you need a blender, social media tools won’t help if the functionality they provide is not what your situation requires. In This is about that other thing, right? Jack Vinson recounts an incident in which his client had the epiphany and realized that the issue they needed to tackle wasn’t the project they had planned but rather inadequate communication within the enterprise. If you have a foundational challenge like inadequate communication or few distinct, active internal social networks, you might find that implementing social media projects are more challenging than they should be. While social media tools can be transformative in the right situation, Steve Radick notes that they often simply reflect your corporate culture and any of its inadequacies. A command-and-control organization won’t turn into an open, emergent, dynamic enterprise overnight merely through the introduction of social media tools.
Don’t get me wrong — social media tools are fantastic and do open up new possibilities for education, innovation and growth. However, they are just tools, not miracle workers. And, they work best in the hands of educated, experienced craftsmen — not snake oil salesmen.
[Photo Credit: OutlandArmour]