Technology (first) is not what social media is about

Dylan Stableford of interviewed me recently about some work Hammock Inc. does in helping associations incorporate social media tools and approaches into events and publishing activities. He was nice enough to excerpt some of it and post it yesterday. And several people have been nice in e-mailing me to say, “Thanks, you are saying exactly what I’ve been trying to tell my boss.”

Here’s a re-post of my quote Dylan shared in his post, “If Obama Won Presidency Without Building Own Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Why Should You?” I think I was answering a question related to the risks an association or company might face when embracing social media:

“As with doing anything, from holding a meeting to publishing a magazine, there are risks with a company or an association initiating a social media initiative. And I don’t mean the kind of risks most marketers, publishers and editors fear regarding people saying negative things or acting in an inappropriate ways. Those are easily managed risks. The more serious risks are getting lost in the objectives of what you’re trying to accomplish by focusing too much in the early stages on the technology or tactics of social media and not focusing on the strategy and business-specific goals you want from the initiative. I apologize to my friends in IT, but the easiest way to doom anything related to social media is to start off talking about technology and features and platforms. I tell clients, “If Obama won the presidency using Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, then why do you need to build a platform from scratch?” If an IT person is in the room, they always have a reason that has something to do with integration into a legacy CRM or something. If you start out with “integration with your legacy CRM” as a social media goal, there’s a high degree of risk that you’ll fail. And there’s a 100 percent chance you’ll not have anything to show for six months to a year.

Confession: Sometimes, I preach better than I practice.