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Adopt/Adapt, you say tomato, I say participate…

by James Ball on November 1, 2009

ScreenHunter_03 Nov. 01 08.28Social media as a platform for doing business is still a new and foreign concept for many, and in small businesses, it would appear that many of us are just now walking through the front doors of the social media hardware store. We’re all just looking to get our hands on the best tools we can find to get the job done. I’m not writing today about tools and applications though.

Social media tools change and adapt almost daily. At times, I feel like it’s all I can do to keep up, so I’ve resigned myself to stepping back a few paces to watch the bigger picture unfold. I like to watch the people; I don’t make the tools that they wield a focal point. I’ve learned much from the people involved, and I’ve learned to use the tools, but the simple fact is that the tools haven’t taught me a thing. Still, I believe that how we use, share, and interact with the tools does matter.

Let’s accept here that we’re all early adopters. Let’s also accept that we’re also early adapters. By adapter, I mean that we all take from the available resources around us, and we shape and mold them to fit our needs. The interesting thing to note here is that many of tools we use change and adapt themselves to more effectively serve our needs. Take Facebook and Twitter, as just two examples. They watch, they listen, and they enact change.

As early adopters we bear a certain responsibility to those around us that share this space. This is something that I am passionate about, and will be the subject of a much more in-depth future post. Early adapters, this is for you. Just a few things you can add to the mix to make tomorrow a better place for the next guy or gal.

Build up and teach those around you how to use the tools. We all have our favorites; we all have enjoyed great results from specific tools and applications. Pick one that you are quite comfortable with and make your expertise known. Some ideas:

  • Write a tutorial on your blog.
  • Go down to your local Chamber of Commerce, volunteer some time to help them understand something that you have a good grasp on.
  • Tweet, and update your Facebook status to include valuable tips to your followers.
  • Write a guide, or a tutorial, and then make it available through your most effective information outlet.
  • Recruit someone from within your company or organization to help you, teach them how they can get involved.

Offer your feedback, be pro-active, you’re shaping the tools you use:

  • Type “feedback” after the name of your favorite tools in a search, e.g. “twitter feedback”. When you find a portal, participate…tell them what you think about their service. Offer your suggestions.
  • Do a little learning yourself, engage your peers. Find new and better ways to use the tools you’re already using.

It’s early, social media as a platform for doing business is still a dawning era. The landscape will surely look much different this time next year. We can help to shape and establish our surroundings, and I for one would rather help than to watch. If you have any suggestions on how we can more effectively participate, I’m very interested in hearing what you have to say. 

[Image created using Wordle]

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