Defeating the Ego

originally posted on Concept Hub

A few years ago I thought of the title of the book I would like to write about social media –  Defeating the Ego.

The premise of the book is that Social Media was the catalyst that helped to defeat the egos that were so prevalent in big business, big media, and big government.

Throughout the years, social media tools have enabled anyone with Internet access to express themselves, to find and connect with like-minds, to share ideas, collaborate and create alliances. These people have created products and services that have rivaled established brands. They have also created communities of trust at a time when trust was being depleted by the actions of big business, big media, and big government.  These communities of people have oftentimes been the very forces that have exposed the misdealings of the big business, big media and big government.

Three years ago, as I considered writing this book, I thought that the future looked bright for smaller players who were trying to make their mark in this world. From my perspective, I saw siloed walls being knocked down enabling more connections which would lead to more innovations. I saw trust coming from good business practices as opposed to good marketing and packaging. I saw a new world emerging.

Over the past year or so I have seen the very tools that were supposed to enable communities of collaboration, innovation, and overall good business being used by spammers and marketers who simply want to use the tools as a way to broadcast their messages through new channels. However it is not coming from big business, big media and big government, it is coming from the individuals who were supposed to be empowered by these tools – not abuse these tools.

However, recently I realized that Social Media is still the catalyst that will defeat the egos.

As I see people pushing themselves through the social media channels, pounding their chest and screaming “be my friend!, follow me! I am great!” – I think to myself “how’s that working for you?”

Social Media takes time and effort and it is a shame to invest so much into a medium that will capture an inappropriate image and behavior for many years to come.

For the past few years, I have worked with businesses and organizations who knew very well that their actions online needed to be thought through, to represent what they had to offer but to also add value to the communities of people they wanted to engage with.

At the same time, I have seen others jump into the world of social media with only the idea that these new tools were their personal megaphones. Stop it – Please!

Oftentimes I explain to people that what happens online is not much different to what happens offline. The way we interact with people in our real world leads to the kinds of business relationships we have as well as the reputation we have within our community. We typically run away from those who are constantly asking us for something or pushing a product, service or idea onto us.

Perhaps what social media will bring to us is a detailed view of when our tactics do not help us reach our goal as well as insight into what is working for others. Perhaps we will see that successful engagement is not about promoting or stroking our egos, but about serving others. Perhaps we will all begin to see that to be successful we need to focus on helping others succeed more than on promoting our own success.