It’s not you…it’s me.
In 2007, I was introduced to social media at Podcamp Toronto. I happened upon a group of amazing people, many of whom I’m happy to call good friends today. What they were doing that weekend was remarkable. They were figuring out new ways to communicate, collaborate, do business, and build communities. They were exploring and creating and sharing in ways that 90% of the rest of the world didn’t even have an inkling of yet. But above all, they were there with open arms, willing to welcome media oldtimers like myself into the community without judgement. (Literally with open arms – I don’t think I’ve ever been hugged so much in my life as I was that weekend!). They let me ask silly questions. They didn’t laugh at my first blog post. They didn’t mock me when I asked what a DM was on Twitter. They led me through uncharted territory, and changed the way I do business and connect. To those people (they know who they are), I am forever grateful.
But I think my love affair with social media is over.
It was passionate, steamy, obsessive, blissful, and heart wrenching. There were the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and everywhere in between. I’ve been moved to tears, laughed my butt off, and had thoughts provoked in ways I never imagined possible. But the time has come. I’ve got to end it.
Now before you go getting all in a tizzy…I’m not going anywhere. We can still be friends. The best of friends, in fact.
But here’s the reason I can’t be with social media anymore in the same way. Frankly, I’m ready to move on. I’m not saying I know everything – quite the contrary – there’s still so much more to learn! The problem is, we are stuck. We, the ground-breaking, cutting edge super early adopters, the ones who were part of the first 1000 people on Twitter, are still having the same conversations.We’re still talking about how to use Twitter more effectively, how to get more readers on our blogs, how to maximize ROI from social media. We’re still talking about how to convince our boss to use social media. I’ve read and written more on those topics in the past 3 years…I could fill an encyclopedia.
Do we still need to be educating people, helping businesses, and figuring out ways to use new media? Of course we do. It’s here. It’s happening now. We need to keep doing it because that’s what we know. We’re good at it. But we also need to be looking ahead. We need to stop twittering about Twitter, and look down the pipe at what things like Semantic technology and linked data are going to mean to us and our clients in 2 years. We need to look at what video is going to be doing in a few years and how the way we consume mass media and new media are going to merge and change. We need to look at the new technology that companies are developing and really understand how that’s going to impact us. And above all, we need to know where the opportunities will be.
We don’t need to be looking at the “big thing” that is social media anymore. We get it. We have our arsenal, we know how to build effective strategies, and mould them and shape them into successful, measurable action plans for our clients. We’re out there, we’re doing it, and we’re making it work.
But the real danger is, if we don’t start to look beyond the current state of social media, then in a couple of years when it all changes, we’re going to be right in the same place we were in 2008 – trying to navigate new terrain without really knowing what direction to go.
So, social media…it’s been fun. I’m taking away from this passionate affair a new way of communicating, building relationships and doing business. I’m also taking away some really awesome new friends (yes, social media, I get to keep the friends in this break up). I’m passing what I’ve learned from you on to my clients, and helping them to be more successful. But I need to be somewhere else now. I need to be out there…understanding what’s coming next so that I can be ready when it gets here. It’s been fun. I’ll always love you. xoxo