You Can't Hide - but, why would you?
July 21, 2011
One of my favorite jokes depicts a picture of a dog on a chair in front of a computer, supposedly talking to a friend (also a dog). He's saying, "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog."
That's not so true, anymore. If you're on the net, I can find you. If not me, there are talented, smart folks called 'hackers' from whom no one can hide. In some ways, that's a good thing. It means if you are a dog, I'll know. But, it also means, if you're a dog doing doggie things (remember what dogs do... when they have an itch or want that pie cooling on the windowsill)... I'll also find out.
I think we've graduated from being safe and invisible, except to family and friends, to proving Shakespeare's quote, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." This means, if YOU'RE not on stage, you're in the audience. If you are on stage, the rest of us are in the audience. You can't pretend you didn't say that...or write that...or pose like that. Even if you take the words, the video, or the photo off of your site/Facebook page/twitter page - someone else has it on theirs and you won't escape the comments your friends and family are sure to share.
It's not like Vegas - it's more like reality TV - your life is a show the whole world sees either in reruns or on the news - social media is, after all, social (to a fault, sometimes).
Additionally, we have better and faster web connections. This brings all the content you're sharing directly to our inboxes or our social media pages, in the blink of an eye.
I find it interesting that a lot of major businesses today are not recognizing this always being online and always being connected world as an opportunity to allow employees to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Instead, they're running scared because ... they know you can't hide. I have to wonder if they realize that the empty space online where they should be, where their employees should be, is a negative statement to their customers. If silence is all customers get when they search for you... if you refuse to come out of the sidelines... it says a lot. It says you're hiding behind doubt and worry. And... your customers will just talk about why.
Being visible does require guidelines and some monitoring, but the ability to "BE" in front of your clients and customers at all hours of the day and night, is a step forward, not backward. What's needed is attention to detail - showcasing the best and brightest a company has to offer. What's needed is the recognition that talking directly with consumers is hiding in plain site, so to speak. And, I do mean 'talking'... not pushing messages out via twitter or Facebook. I mean engaging in dialogue online, via social networks or in communities and on blogs.
It's clear that the social nature of the web is proving a challenge to many businesses today. While even small, entrepreneurial businesses can throw off the cloak of mystery, get out of hiding, and join the rest of the world in conversation (sometimes faster and easier than the big guys!) they are still dragging their feet.
Are you still playing hide and seek with social media? Or, do you realize that... you just can't hide. Not on the net. On the net, if you're a dog, everyone knows it. Be a friendly, happy-to-see-you kinda dog. Not a sneaky, hide in the shadows kind of dog.
Indeed. And that's precisely why small businesses (if they choose) have yet another competitive advantage over the big boys. While the behemoths are lumbering around working on safe, sanctioned corporate speak and consultants who tell the CEO what he/she wants to hear (image! brand! blah-blah...) the little guys can move in.
Posted by: Mary Schmidt | July 21, 2011 at 09:24 AM