October 31, 2009

Yes, I'm Feeling Lucky

Why lucky?

Although it's difficult to recall a time before Google, I have a strong memory of my first visit to their homepage when I was intrigued by the second search button 'I'm Feeling Lucky'. It promised daring and glorious serendipity, like the bottle labelled 'Drink Me'in Alice In Wonderland, and I wondered briefly what exciting worlds beyond a world might be hidden behind that simple button.

'Press Me', it seemed to say.

But, despite my general appetite for novelty and adventure, I'm quite purposeful when I'm online, more White Rabbit than Alice, so I never did put down my stopwatch long enough to disappear down that particular rabbit-hole.

But I did wonder.

And today, I'm feeling lucky.

My colleague Paul Flynn sent me on a video, Social Media Revolution, which reminded me again of those worlds beyond this world that have made it such a pleasure to be a small-business owner in Dublin, Ireland in 2009.

This short video offers a range of astonishing facts about the growth of social media, including:
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world's 4th largest (after China, India & the USA)
  • A recent study suggests that online students fare better than those taught in the classroom
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendation; only 14% trust advertising
& suggests that successful companies in social media are more like Dale Carnegie than advertising legend David Ogilvy.

Now those are some rabbit-holes!

The maker of the video, Erik Qualman, goes on to say that "successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators and content providers than traditional advertisers."

Of course, these are difficult times too for a small-business owner, but our access to the worlds of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter make it so much easier than before to spread the word on how we do business and what we have to offer.

When I first got into business in event-management in Hong Kong some twenty years ago, small wasn't such a good thing, and we had to work very hard to promote our events. Bigger competitors with bigger fists and deeper pockets could outpunch and outspend us. Sometimes, they crushed us under their massive feet.

OK, I exaggerate, but you know what I mean. Being a pygmy in the jungle was a lot of hard work.

Now, if you've got something useful or interesting to say (or better still, useful and interesting), there's whole worlds out there populated by people who are just one sticky word or arresting image away.

And, of course, being an Irish small-business owner makes me feel even luckier. For who can put the 'social' into social media if it isn't for the Irish?

Party planning? Check!
Aggregators? I think that means knowing where all the good stuff can be found and passing it on. Check!
Content providers? We just love making things up! Check, check, check!

Our time has come and I'm determined to make the most of it. How about you?

Oh yes, I'm feeling lucky.

Over To You: What difference will social media make to the way you approach your career or business?

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