The Phenomenon of Social Notworking

February 17, 2009


NOTE: The earliest known use of “Social Notworking”, is on a UK blog dedicated to the term. The first entry is “Better things to do with your time…”

I like to Tweet about my importance to the world as much as the next person, but talk to many old-school PR guys or gals about social networking and you’ll get a cantakerous diatribe about time spent “making real connections” versus time spent socializing on the interwebs. It’s undeniable that being digitally connected to hundreds of millions of people  makes life as a PR pro easier (if not somewhat convoluted). It also opens the door for us to be lazy and/or unfocused, even if you kind of feel like you’re still working. 

The biggest irony of the last statement is that social networking is GENERALLY most effective when done constantly, over a long period of time. The more time you invest, the better your ROI ought to be…right? In theory yes, except this doesn’t account for the fact that some of the most widely shared online content has been spread 100% virally with no “Marketing Engine” to drive it. So, where do you draw the line?

Previously, we covered Social Media myths , a description of some untruths that can help streamline social media marketing efforts. For this post we’re delving into: 

Questions you can ask to determine if your social media agenda is working.

  • Does anyone respond to your Twitter posts/blog/Facebook page/newsletter? No fresh content = no audience, people don’t follow just to follow, they want to be engaged.
  • Is your social media program driven by SPECIFIC  company goals or objectives? If you have a program just to say you’re involved with social media but it’s not synched up with the company’s vision, it’s not doing any good. Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends does an excellent job explaining this in a blog post: Social Networking or Social Notworking?
  • If you’ve hired a consultant, does that person meet any of the criteria listed in Suw Charman-Anderson’s post entitled, “How to Determine if your Social Media Consultant is a Lemon.”
  • Can you pinpoint traditional media hits that resulted directly from interactions started through social media? 
  • In the course of one day, are the majority of your social media interactions more personal than professional? Be honest.
  • Do you primarily engage in social media because it keeps you busy and feeling connected or is it more of an outreach tool?
  • Is there something more productive you could be doing right now besides reading this blog?

I was going to assign a Cosmo magazine type rating system for each response, where depending on your final tally, you were either a Social Media Butterfly or a Cave-dwelling Chrysalis but I don’t want to deflate anyone’s self-esteem balloon.

The ultimate lesson is to understand what works and spend your time wisely because there are plenty of people who would gladly do your job for less money right now.

Posted by: Nick