What’s Important to Know?

Climate Change And Global Pollution To Be Discussed At Copenhagen SummitSome of the comments on the personal post of one of our writers brought up some points that I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. See a friend of mine spent two entire work days at a social media conference. After it was over, I asked him what he learned.

Imagine a very long, brief pause.  Then he started talking in circles, so I pushed again, “No, I mean what did you actually learn?” He proceeded to fess up that it was more of a networking event than an actual learning experience. All in all, he didn’t learn anything new.

Here at the PRBC there has been much debate about the necessity vs. uselessness of social media conferences, but this isn’t about that. Many of us are social media advocates – we praise the importance of social media, offer advice on how to navigate it – however, on occasion I get the feeling that we are just restating the same points over and over again.

Admit it: Have you ever clicked on a social media article that looked interesting, then proceeded to read through the two pages of text, only for the article to state that social media is important? Well, duh.

I think it’s safe to say that a person could spend 24/7 reading everything there is to know about social media, or going to a dozen different conferences – but when does the education process turn into repetition?

There is so much information and so many conferences out there spouting the latest technology developments to commenting on best practices on how to use these channels, which always makes me feel like I am missing something. Yet, when I get around to digging in deep on these topics, I quickly realize, “Hey, I already knew that.”

I try to read up on all things social media, all of the time, but I find it’s best if most of my energy is spent with the technologies that are relevant to my target audience.

Those of us that work in this space are under the constant pressure to know everything there is to know. I think it’s important to have an overall understanding of the social media sphere, but how often do you learn something so new that it actually blows your mind?

With the immense amount of information available, what do you feel is important to know? Where should you spend your efforts? Finally, do you think social media education is now turning into social media repetition?

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  • I find social media to be a very important tool but alot of people just don't know how to use it.

  • bethvonbehren

    Marie: This was an excellent post. I often feel like there are an awful lot of people out there claiming to have more knowledge than I do, and yet they haven't been doing it any longer. How could they? Social media is new for all of us. A lot of that is just self promotion on the part of the “experts.”

    OTOH, I love hearing about people's experiences as we navigate through this new context. So, for me, examples of problems solved or interesting, witty, or novel uses of SM are a great resource. Applications of SM with regard to strategic communication planning can also be valuable.

    So I think we have to kind of read between the lines when deciding whether or not to attend a conference or lecture. What gets me is when I've been fooled, when I'm sitting there and realize the presenter has no greater wisdom than I have. In those instances, I simply get up and walk out. (And then I let the powers that be know that, you know, fool me once…)