Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot more teaching social web strategy and discussing web tools with people whose lives aren’t consumed with it than I ever did working in the field directly. Sometimes, you have to engage with your consumers and your audience and I’ve found this extremely helpful.
One of the things I remember talking about a lot last year from teaching my class to consulting to helping the SocialWyo folks plan their conference was the fact that you can have 50,000 foot discussions about this nebulous social media creature and go nowhere. Ordinary people with lives and work and jobs might use Facebook and maybe they’ve created a Twitter account. But no one in their everyday lives has made any of these tools really relevant to them in a manner that they can understand the real origins of web utility; as opposed to a telephone or radio or something like that.
I’ve enjoy conversations that force me to tone down the jargon, avoid the cliches and spend more time talking about the meat and potatoes of the topic without powerpoint slides or a backchannel. I think I’ve thrived as a strategist over the years precisely because so much of my circle was comprised of savvy people who are digital outsiders; coupled with a professional circle through the web of smart people who have their thumbs on what’s going on and keep me on top of things.