I am not a technological Luddite but I can't see how all this social media is useful for business. Beyond "having" a presence (website, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, Ning site, blog(s), Twitter, and syndication), it seems a colossal commitment of time that could be used to create product or deliver services.
Is social media useful for your own practice or your client's business? As any consultant can tell you, "it depends." Despite Pew Research findings that only 27% of US Internet users bother to read blogs, even back in 2008 we were still adding new blogs at a rate of 40,000 a day. Venture capital firms invested $60 million that year for startup blogging companies. Apparently blogging has enough value to attract capital. Finally, Twitter is berated by many as a waste of time, but Dell attributes more than $6.5 million of revenue last year from their Twitter presence (and that was more or less unintentional).
What is often missing in the "What Good is Social Media?" discussion is how
it is being used. These technologies don't exist as add-ons - they are genuinely creating new ways to communicate in speed, content, interactivity, and functionality. But "being in social media" is of no value unless you are using it to further your current business goals. For example, a LinkedIn profile only has value as a reference point for your participation in (or starting and moderating) LinkedIn Groups. Setting up your own Ning social network is only as valuable as the community you create and maintain. Tip:
A great example of how digital media could transform our interaction is to look at a YouTube video of the "Digital Nativity"
(easier if you know the Christian references to the story, but you can get the point even without them). There is "old school" ways of doing things and "really, really new school" ways. The market demands more than just good consulting services. It (legitimately or not) sees your engagement with the social and business community as evidence of your value and the transparency it affords as a measure of trust. Social media, done well, is one way to create that presence and trust.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA