The Social Disconnect

Last week I had the privilege of presenting with a group called “Social Connections” founded by Eva Abreu (@eva_abreu).  We gathered at the Franklin Township Library in Somerset, New Jersey to give a presentation titled, Social Media: Do you get it?  There were several skilled social media marketers on the panel with me, including:

  • Adam Wolf (@awolf12)
  • Leora Wenger (@leoraw)
  • Scott Bradley (@scottbradley)
  • Jessica Levin (@jessicalevin)
  • Annie Boccio (@banannie)
  • Loren Fisher (@lorenphotos)

Attending the seminar was a small group of library members from age 40 to the over 60 crowd.  However, despite the size, it was an event that I will never forget.  What was so memorable about this seminar was the audience reaction.  They didn’t understand 90% of what we were saying.  And, after each member of the panel presented, the next person up, realizing the situation, would say, “Let me take this a step back,” or “to make this less confusing….”  There was a tremendous disconnect between what we were teaching as social media marketers and what our audience could actually comprehend.

It was clear by the question and answer period that some members of the group were more educated about Social Media than others.  But, even if they were on Facebook or Twitter as business professionals or just for personal reasons, they weren’t sure why and how to connect everything together to build relationships or to capitalize on the potential those social connections.  Here’s a taste of the types of questions that night:

  • I’m on Twitter and Facebook and I don’t know what to do?
  • How do I connect with more people and who are those people?
  • What do you mean by transparency?
  • Who benefits from social networking?
  • Will the Internet and social networking just be one big Ponzi scheme?
  • Is WebEx a form of social networking?

There’s a big difference between the dialog at our Tweetups vs. other social/public gatherings.  The next day, I went to a North Jersey Tweetup.  I heard about new Twitter applications and we discussed why TweetDeck is better than Twhirl and which twit poll is better.  We also discussed how the 30 and 40 year olds are taking over Facebook and college students don’t want to congregate there anymore.  Then, the discussion turns to the next best Web 2.0 collaboration platform.  This type of conversation is abundant in and among my peers.  But, when you get into the real world and converse with the general public, there’s the need for a lot more education and that includes some of the basic fundamentals of Social Media.

So, I dare you….try to get out of your Social Media circle once in a while and talk to people who are not at the Tweetups but maybe at a regular networking event or cocktail party outside of your industry.  Listen carefully and ask questions. You may be very surprised at what you hear and how the average person may be using Social Media but doesn’t connect the dots like you do.  What have you heard similar lately?