We social media people flock together. We follow each other on social, we talk about each other on social, we feud and ally with each other on social. It’s one big, happy family! Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a big, happy, inbred family. All we hear is social media people talking about social media. That is called living in a vacuum, and creativity doesn’t thrive in a vacuum.
It’s natural to gravitate toward people with the same interests and experiences as us. You’d be hard pressed to find a profession whose practitioners didn’t enjoy talking shop with their fellows. I’m not discouraging this. We should absolutely interact with people in the social media profession. It’s a great way to learn and exchange ideas. The problem is our industry doesn’t benefit from us being in a little bubble of like-minded techies, but from getting out of that bubble.
Here’s what I mean.
If you’re a chiropractor, most of your learning will be from others in the field of chiropracting. Spending time with Joe Shmoe on the street is likely not going to make you a better chiropractor. However, social media is different. I use Facebook for my job, but all the people I’m trying to reach also use Facebook. I need to learn how they use Facebook to make myself better at my job. I can’t do that if the only people I follow on social are other social media mavens.
I’m not suggesting that you unfollow all your friends who work in social media and follow 20,000 random strangers to learn their habits (though some of you could do with shaving off a few of those “gurus” you’re only following because they followed you first and you nobly reciprocated). It’s more a mind set of paying closer attention to how your regular friends and family use these networks. We need to keep up with social news, trends and best practices, but that’s only half the battle in this business.