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For small business, engaging with social media means first cutting through some contradictions

For small business, engaging with social media means first cutting through some contradictions

Published: February 12, 2010 Updated: October 13, 2016

Searching for advice from experts across the Web would seem to be a starting point, except that can often mean running into not only plenty of hype but plenty of contradictions as well.

Such as:

It's all about transparency and openness! The old barriers between professional and private really matter less than ever! Just remember: Never tweet your politics. Or too many weekend details. Or how much you have on the Steelers to cover on Sunday.

Or:

It's about developing long-term relationships, not focusing any longer on marketing-- ick! -- or that annoying, immediate return on investment! Then again, know this: As your paranoid, industrial-age boss, I am easily threatened by the idea of encouraging my employees to immerse online, or have our company develop a strong Facebook presence, or blog, or post video, etc.

So in each example: Which side should prevail? Which one will prevail?

I think it is important to keep in mind that those of us who are social media enthusiasts need to, well, back off just a little. Stop making all this sound like a religion or mass cult experience. Stop thinking of the world as divided between those who 'get' social media, and those who don't. Because then perhaps some of the jargon can wither away, and more real, lasting understanding can flourish.

Specifically: The key value to all this for a small business is DIY: Do it yourself. Start. Learn. Practice. Fail. Reach out. Connect. Listen. Learn more. Succeed. Fail again. Succeed again. Repeat. Sounds like how the rest of running a small business works, eh? The rule book is being written on this stuff every day. It's vitally important that small business join that discussion.

Since hype and contradictions and other confusion are all too common across the Web, I think for business that makes finding smart destinations online such as The Industry Word all the more valuable. Nancy Sternberg explains a lot of what this blog is all about in a radio interview here.* Entrepreneur.com steps up with a piece here.*

Please jump into the comments here. This is really a continuation of my thoughts in this previous post. I want to know what you think about these issues.

Craig Colgan is a technology and media writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. Find him on the web at CraigColgan.com. His email address is craigcolgan@ymail.com.

* This link is to a non-government site.

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