It's about your mindset, not your technology*

You know at year-end, everyone loves to compile their best-of lists. Even I sucuumbed with a New-Year’s type post a few days ago, despite my typical aversion to resolutions and best-of lists. As I’ve seen a number of these items in the past couple of weeks, several proclaiming Twitter as the app of the year, I’ve been struck repeatedly by the thought that the technology just doesn’t matter.

[Disclaimer: I love Twitter and think it has a lot of useful business applications, in addition to being fun.]

But it really doesn’t matter if your company is using Twitter, or Facebook, or any other so-called hot social media technology.

Your mindset matters. Kathy Sierra hit on this earlier today when she posted [on Twitter, of course] a short thought on how companies are using social media.

What co’s THINK they do w/[social media]: “We want to know what YOU feel.” What they ACTUALLY do: “We want to know what you feel about US.”

I’ll go further and say a lot of companies are actually saying, “We want you to feel THIS WAY about US.” And in some ways, that’s not all bad. At least they’re out there, trying new technology, new ways to communicate with their markets.

But I suspect many of the organizations leaping to use social media are still missing the forest for the trees. Yes, social media can make connections for you. It can broaden and deepen your exposure in your target market. But unless you’re using social media with the question, “What can I give?” topmost in your mindset, you aren’t likely to get as much in return.

For organizations, social media should be first and foremost another way to listen. Your audience will tell you what you can do for them. But it’s awfully hard to set aside your preconceived notions of what your market ought to want, and instead respond to what they are already telling you they need.

Before you choose your technology, be sure you pick out the right mindset.

* I can say with 100% certainty that there are wrong choices in technology, but I think you’re less likely to make them when you have the right mindset.

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