Even if you have to be strapped to the mast.
This may come as a shock to any Gen-Y readers out there who have grown up on Twitter and Facebook, but there remains a lot of skepticism — and fear — about social media among your elders. The cut-off age seems to be around 35 where people either want to dive in, even if it’s daunting — or hope/wish it’s all a fad (put in the ear buds and crank it for this one).
As Curtis Silver writes on Wired’s Geek Dad blog,
When it comes to Social Media, a lot individuals and companies are quite afraid. Fear of the unknown. Fear of lack of privacy. Fear of retribution and negative response. Fear of ex-girlfriends’ new boyfriends, or of strangers stalking your kids.
Like many of the most important things in life, this reminds me of that cinematic masterpiece featuring Bill Murray, What About Bob? It’s the story of Bob Wiley, who at the start of the film must summon every ounce of courage just to leave his apartment, accompanied by his pet goldfish, Gil.
He visits a psychiatist who describes him as “almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic” — a phrase that aptly describes the social media planning of lots of companies at this stage.
But as the story progresses, Bob “baby steps” his way past his fear. He even tries sailing.
Granted, he has to be tied to the mast. But pretty soon, he’s got the girl and everything else he ever wanted.
So how can you set sail for social media success? If you’re at a loss for how to get started, you might try reading a book or two. This is really old-school, I know — download them onto your Kindle if it makes you feel better.
Here are three suggestions for getting started:
- Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis
- Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, by Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li
- Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time, by Joel Comm
Check these out. Next time I’ll talk about finding blogs that can help you keep learning and building confidence as you set sail — with or without numb lips.