Should I Do Social Media?

October 28, 2008

Posted in Marketing and Technology.


In my first job, I worked with a big healthcare client. They had built a new building and spared no expense. We worked with them to create a unique, powerful online community for their patients to communicate with doctors, staff, and each other. They would maintain an online journal (before the word blog was popular) and customize their experience. It was a social network for cancer patients. Six months and a lot of money later, we launched the site.

Nobody used it. Two years (and a lot more money) later, it still hadn’t been used.

Why? The client didn’t have time to mess with it. They never distributed logins to their patients. They never promoted it. They simply didn’t give it any attention. Eventually, it just disappeared.

Social media are just tools. And like any tool, you have to know how to use it, what it’s good for, and what it’s not good for. And as with any tool, you can come up with creative, unintended uses that might do the trick.

I caught myself feeling a bit disappointed today when I realized that I hadn’t really invested myself in a particular LinkedIn network. I don’t go back to check for posts, network with people, or create new content.

Then I thought about the dozen other social networks I don’t check regularly. LinkedIn, Ning, and Facebook groups… I can’t be the number one contributor on them all. Plus writing for two blogs, Tumblr, and Twitter. I’m spread so thin across the Internet that I don’t really have any effect in any of those places.

The question isn’t “should I do social media?”, but rather “how should I do social media?” And the answer is “as well as I can manage.”

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