I was having another sleepless night as I wrote this. I have had a lot on my mind lately with lots of different issues that have been demanding my attention. One of which has been my preparation for 2012. As I am mentally outlining a plan to meet with my team I could not help but deeply reflect on what I have personally experienced over the course of 2011.
For the sake of the title of this post I am going to focus on two distinct types of waves; the thrill waves and the storm waves. I used to boogie board a couple years ago (I plan on taking it up again soon) and I have to tell you the thrill and excitement has never yet to be rivaled. There is just something about that unique roar, the ride and the successful execution that are unparalleled. On the other hand, I was also on a fishing boat one time that was 20 miles from shore and had to traverse back through an awful storm. The boat was tossed about and virtually everyone on board was extremely seasick. Both of these scenarios apply to what I have seen and experienced this year in social media. I want to first start with the stormy waves of social media.
Stormy Social Media
Has the stormy side of social media lessened in 2011? In many ways, I believe yes. More companies are coming up with a solid strategy. We have a lot more solid metrics as a baseline to work from which helps with decisions. So I am seeing a lot less guessing and a lot more action and direction. However, there is still a fair share of stormy issues out there. Does Klout matter? Will Google + mean anything for business? What will Facebook change next? Does your business model have any application to my business model and social media strategy? These questions and perhaps many others were a major distraction from achieving a solid direction. Many of us kind of felt like a boat in a storm with no rudder in a wavy sea. We were tossed around. There was no land in site and it even made us sick somewhat. For me personally, it was reassuring myself of where metrics and lead analysis play a role in overall marketing. Numbers at times I found sickening with again not a real picture of which direction to take. It was the bigger picture and the people in it that served as a solid personal reminder as I navigated through the year.
Thrilling Social Media
Now, this is the fun stuff. I remember one wave I was riding when I actually was able to ride through the tube. It is every wave riders dream to have that water start curling over your head as you ride the wave and as the wave begins to collapse the sheer force of the water propels all the air out of the end of the wave and shoots you out like a bullet. Yes, this is coupled with intense screams of excitement. That sensation I felt many times throughout the year as I witnessed paths that I chose result in amazing business accomplishments. Those of you who know me well have to come to appreciate how much “fun” I believe social media really is. It has been and always shall be a fundamental way to connect with people. So when I analyze all the different waves I chose to ride and the accomplishments that resulted, it made me realize a couple of things. Waves have a clear direction. I may not control over that waves direction but I do have control over my direction. Basic steering and decision making while riding the social media wave dictated the outcome. The main point is that I had a direction. I never lost sight of my overall business goals. The thrill of the ride kept my heart beating and kept me on my board and looking for the next ride.
In business, we have to take the good with the bad. We can't help but absorb the stormy times. They are a fact of life but stormy and rocky seas should never inhibit us from getting back in the water. I have continued to learn to focus on the fun, the thrill, and the clear direction of where riding the waves of social media has led me. It has led me right to you.
What do you think of the analogy? Love it or hate it? What has been your overall experience this year and what have you learned from it? I look forward to reading your comments below.