My early forays, into what would now be labelled social media, were on music and photography forums, through which I met many wonderful people, several of which are firm friends today. What marked these individuals out was not just their knowledge, but also because they imparted great advice. They gained authority in my mind through delivering consistently reliable information, be it camera lenses, or a simple “well, if you like band X then should should check out band Y…”
They were helpful.
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith discuss this in Trust Agents:
Being helpful refers to many different things: it’s a genuinely nice way to interact with people; it’s a content creation strategy; it’s a guidepost to deciding what’s worth doing; and, most often, it’s the right thing to do
One of the ongoing challenges for social media and its participants is to recognise that it’s not just about quantity of followers or friends, it’s understanding who can be the most helpful, and who requires the most help. It’s human nature. The focus therefore becomes delivery.
This is echoed in a recent post by Scott Gould (co-founder, Likeminds), who has, for some time, being trying to fix the social media conference puzzle. Several big events have already taken place this year, and many have failed to deliver on expectations, for the simple reason organisers forget about the audience and, ironically, the events become another broadcast medium. The social and collaborative elements have been lost. The social conference scene has become a victim of the intentions of the sponsor, whereby its all talk, with very little genuine delivery. Scott wants to change this.
I’ll be honest, this problem has stumped me a bit. So, on the theme of helpfulness, dive into Scott’s conversation and see if you can help.