There are no rivals in social media

This is my constant refrain when asked about social media “giants” and “rival” companies online. There are no rivals in social media. The thing that makes social media work so well, and that has me so enthusiastic about its potential for creating a fully connected World 2.0 techno-utopia one day, is that it is built on community, connection, conversation and bridging gaps.

I was at a cookout at Mzinga in Massachusetts the other day, and someone asked who would be considered the biggest rival for Mzinga. My answer was a sincere “No one. There are no rivals in social media.” (If you don’t know about them, Mzinga handles social media strategy for some very prominent clients, including ABC and others.) Another example would be that Laura Fitton and Chris Brogan handle social media strategy for companies and individuals. So do we. Instead of this creating a rivalry, it creates a community.

In fact this community of social media evangelists, consultants and users is a close one, in which everyone is generally willing to help everyone else. Sure, there are a few bad apples in any bunch that bring only negativity and competition to the web universe. The good people far, far outweigh the bad, however. Social media has helped save people from arrest in foreign countries, report news, help in times of natural disaster, provide housing and food for people in the community in need, make connections, find lost friends and lost loves, improve customer service for struggling companies, and so much more. The biggest hurdle social media faces is bringing this idea of family, open communication, transparency and team work into the offline world.

For too long we have lived in a me, me, me world. The days of looking out for number one alone are long gone. To find your success in this world, you also have to be a cheerleader for the success of your neighbor. Take a look at some often-cited real world Twitter examples: Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV and Zappos Shoes’ CEO Tony. These are two people who have used Twitter and other social media to skyrocket to success. Their secret is that they have been attentive to others along the way, and have been inclusive, genuine, accessible and open. People respond to that, and then speak with their wallets, their goodwill and their word of mouth.

I could write pages and pages about my love of this close-knit internet world we are building online and carrying offline, but blog entries are supposed to be short. If you want to know how enthusiastic I am about using social media to learn, to grow and to become successful at what you do, please give me a call or Tweet me up. You can hit me up on other networks as well – I’m connected everywhere, Twitter is just one of my personal favorites. My number is in my profile page in the nav bar above. I am anxious to bring the world closer together. The global economy is coming (in many cases it is here) – are you online enough to benefit as the world gets smaller and more transparent and accessible? I hope you are.

  • Leslie – great to see you at the Mzinga BBQ last Thursday. We hope that you’ll become a regular!

    BTW, great post! I’ve always been a big proponent of the concept that “a rising tide rises all boats.” Given the fact that we’re in such a nascent industry (online community/social media for the enterprise) you’re absolutely right when you say that we can all do a lot more to build awareness vs. spending time beating up on one another.

    Best,
    Aaron | @astrout

  • Leslie – great to see you at the Mzinga BBQ last Thursday. We hope that you’ll become a regular!

    BTW, great post! I’ve always been a big proponent of the concept that “a rising tide rises all boats.” Given the fact that we’re in such a nascent industry (online community/social media for the enterprise) you’re absolutely right when you say that we can all do a lot more to build awareness vs. spending time beating up on one another.

    Best,
    Aaron | @astrout

  • Some businesspeople think of social media as Facebook, and underestimate its powers. Others understand what social media is, but don’t integrate it into a marketing plan. Salespeople in particular stand to gain great efficiency by understanding how social media redefines conversations. A recent blog I wrote on this topic can be accessed through this link:

    customerthink.com/blog/quit_bothering_social_media_busy_selling

  • Some businesspeople think of social media as Facebook, and underestimate its powers. Others understand what social media is, but don’t integrate it into a marketing plan. Salespeople in particular stand to gain great efficiency by understanding how social media redefines conversations. A recent blog I wrote on this topic can be accessed through this link:

    customerthink.com/blog/quit_bothering_social_media_busy_selling