Social Media Lesson: Reach out – Listen – Learn

social media's magic ingredientIn the post –What Michael Jackson can teach business about social media… I shared four valuable social media lessons business owners should learn from the life and death of the King of Pop.

The first lesson was that being first doesn’t mean as much as you probably think it does.   I’ve worked with many clients who drastically over-estimated how long and hard the road is when you’re truly blazing a new trail through the wilderness.  (They don’t call the LEADING edge the BLEEDING edge for no reason!)

The second lesson was the importance of reaching out – listening a learning.

In Creativity is Easier when you have a Partner – David Wright shares an AMAZING story of how reaching out -listening and learning helped him turn losing the only job he ever loved into not only a book but also a business (Collective Inkwell).

There’s a lot of value in the “community” aspect of social media.   There are lessons to be learned via social media if you’re willing to reach out – listen and learn.

There are life lessons to be learned in social media – whether they be lessons from the road courtesy of Betsy Wuebker lessons in self defense from Lori Hoeck,  lessons in the art of possibility from Davina or  lessons in laughter from Lance.  You could live five lifetimes and not accumulate half of the life lessons shared in those just four blogs.

There are POWERFUL business lessons to be learned  as well.  Liz Strauss writes intriguing, instructive posts teaching CEO’s how to correctly “view” social media.  In Could You Be a Chief Executive Social Gardener? she models through words AND actions social media’s real value for brands.

Social Media can show BOTH sides of the story

New business owners can learn from experienced leaders in their field who freely share their expertise via social media.   Tom Volkar shares freely his insights on starting a new business- the RIGHT business for you with posts like Why Rock The Boat?

However, once you’ve chosen your business – you need practical advice as well – from those who have “been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.”   For exmaple, David Airey shares his words of wisdom about his own formula for design pricing.  However, if you’re a designer there’s also a wealth of information from those who are struggling with the process of finding the “right” designer…as Sara Healy does in her post The Still Small Voice Was Right.

Social Media showcases both success and failure

We all love success stories – but sometimes those success stories don’t give us the full picture.  Jason Cohen has written a WONDERFUL article on how most business “advice” is flawed  because it generally focuses exclusively on the “success” side of the coin.  In Business Advice Plagued by Survivor Bias he shares what is possibly the most illustrative word picture of how focusing on the success may actually cause you to miss the most valuable business lessons of all.

The “traditional” media is obsessed with success… to the point where they’ll gloss over the time, energy and failures that go into building a successful business.  However, in the social media arena – most bloggers are more than willing to share their failures as well as their successsed  as Barbara Swafford has done in Bloopers, BooBoos and Ideas That Went Bust.

Social Media may have more in store for us than just valuable lessons

social media saves the worldThere’s a lot to be learned from social media – but Danny Dover makes a case for Social  Media  my be a key to Saving the world. Dover reveals in this post:

Social media has the potential to become the greatest early detection system that the world has ever seen. It is faster, nimbler and has more access to user data than any traditional search engine.

Social media is powered by all of us individually. Because of this, you have the ability to make a positive difference.

When Michael Jackson died, I read somewhere that the server hosting one of the breaking news web sites had at one point 42 hits PER SECOND.   That’s a lot of people seeking information from a single source.  Fortunately, that information “disseminated”  quickly – much to the relief of a server admin I’m sure – but it shows how BIG this world is and how connected we are thanks to social media.

This is why I “cringe” when someone wants to reduce blogging to the mere act of “lead generation” and “lead conversion”.

It’s not that I’m against making money – or even evaluating what marketing tools are “working” and which ones aren’t.  It’s just that trying to put an ROI value on social media is not only premature- but possibly pointless.

As you can see here – there are a lot of GREAT lessons – both life lessons – and business lessons – being shared via social media if you’re willing to reach out – listen and learn.


  1. Thank you for the mention and link!

    For all of its craziness, social media is teaching amazing things. The future of social media is tied more to relationship — including the one to our own self — than we can even imagine.
    .-= Lori Hoeck´s last blog ..Using words as a part of self defense =-.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I love the part where you said, “The “traditional” media is obsessed with success… to the point where they’ll gloss over the time, energy and failures that go into building a successful business. “. That is spot on. They often make it sound like success is something we could get from a drive thru; drop a few dollars and it’s yours. (Of course, there are also some non-traditional sites online that claim the same 🙂 )

    I think those who gather information online, whether from blogs, social networking or media sites, gain greater knowledge as they are getting it from people who are living “it” first hand. All we need to do is listen, really listen to what’s being shared. So much data is at our fingertips. How awesome is that?

    Kathy, thank you for another insightful article and for the link love, as well.
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Our Blogs, Our Babies – Criticism Hurts =-.

  3. Hi Kathy,
    Thanks so much for the link today!

    Social media…I fought it for a while, thinking “why do I need it?”. What I’ve found is that social media is a powerful way to strengthen relationships with others. And in getting to know, to really know, others – we develop a tie with others. People we may not normally meet because of distance, different markets, etc. And social media makes that relationship not only possible, but also makes those relationships real and meaningful…
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Laugh Out Loud! =-.

  4. Hi Kathy – Thank you for the link! This post was packed with great links, so it was a pleasure to be included. The meaning behind the media is a concept that has intrigued me ever since I realized how much knowledge and friendship I stood to gain. Rather than preaching to or writing at, social media enables us to converse with. It’s a huge difference, as you point out.

    Thank you.
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..CHEECHAKOS IN THE CHUGACH =-.

  5. “This is why I “cringe” when someone wants to reduce blogging to the mere act of “lead generation” and “lead conversion”.” I cringe too. And so many want to do that, to put an ROI value on social media. I try to always remain patient while explaining what you just explained in this post.
    .-= Vered – Blogger for Hire´s last blog ..Back To School =-.

  6. You raise a very good point here (as Always!) – I like this ‘When you let other people make the mistakes – that’s the definition of “WISDOM”.’
    .-= Amelia Vargo´s last blog ..How Can The New Social Media Help Your SEO? =-.

  7. Lori- As always – you took this to a “whole ‘nother level”…. social media not only strengthens our ties to others – it’s also a great tool for strengthening what is for many of us – our most neglected relationship of all – the one with self!

    Barbara – Yet another reason I love blogging… we’re definitely able to gather valuable information unfiltered and directly from the horse’s mouth – so to speak. I continue to be surprised at the transparency of the media.

    Lance – Thank YOU for the reminder to laugh!!!

    Betsy – You’re more than welcomed. You can really tell you use this “platform” as a friendship mechanism.

    Vered – You – like everyone else who were linked and have commented here- really GET this platform. You GET how it works – and trying to explain that to some people is like trying to explain how “being in love” to someone who is obsessed with “getting laid”. There’s a HUGE difference between making love and getting laid – and trying to explain the difference to the wolf at the bar is sometimes futile!

    Amelia – Thanks. My favorite mistakes are the ones OTHER people make. 🙂

  8. Kathy… I just LOVE your frankness — “There’s a HUGE difference between making love and getting laid.” 🙂 Hugs to you! I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter these days and it has connected me with a whole other side of myself… a side that had been buried and forgotten — a saucy, playful imp. How I’ve missed her!

    So… not only does social media connect us with the outside world… those connections we make bring us closer to ourselves. And… “tanks” for the linky too.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Laziness is Like What? =-.

  9. Kathy — Thank you for the link and as always for your support.

    One thing I can always count on with you is to say the truth as you see it. You have taught me so much about blogging. I may not always listen at the time, but I do eventually learn, even if the hard way.

    This post was another of your great ones about social media. I must admit, I still struggle with using social media tools, like Twitter, but that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with you about their importance. We are now in a new world of communications; one without geographical or even political boundaries and much of this is due to social media!

    p.s. I absolutely loved your comment back to Vered. Your comparison about “love” and “getting laid” made me LOL. You and Lance usually have something in your posts that make me laugh:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..The Still Small Voice Was Right =-.

  10. Davina – I love hearing how expressing yourself via Twitter has helped you to “reconnect” with yourself!

    Sara -Social media is changing the world – and I don’t think you have to LIVE on Twitter to be a part of it. I’m glad I could make you laugh today.

  11. “It’s just that trying to put an ROI value on social media is not only premature- but possibly pointless.” Good way to bring it all together. Social media may be like meditation in that they both help us connect but if we look too hard at the benefit going in we skew the results away from our intentions. Instead it’s better to just show up and express yourself naturally so the right people who are drawn to who you are can identify themselves.
    .-= Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog ..Ripening Bliss =-.

  12. VERY NICE!!! A hearty AMEN!!!

  13. “Social Media May Be The Key To Saving The World.” I agree with that, and I love how the good stuff — the brave , true, courageous uplifting stuff rises to the top, a la Lance, Barbara et al. People are pretty darned-fine inventions, if you ask me.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Post-Vacation Contemplation =-.


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