February 10, 2009

C’mon - I Don’t Have All Minute!

How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young? - Paul Sweeney

Are you impatient?

We are spoiled and we want it all now. Companies are searching for bailouts, our need to own stuff we can't afford has caused credit card debt to reach into the billions. And we can't seem to help ourselves.

Whenever I talk about social media to my non-geek friends their eyes begin to flutter, shaking ensues, there’s usually a panicked look in their face as they search for a reason to end the conversation. You may have experienced similar reactions.

Patience is a virtue not a business plan

If LinkedIn and Twitter are mentioned in the same sentence, paramedics may be required. Any mention of blogs or podcasts may as well be spoken in Japanese.

If I can hold their attention for a few moments longer, I can usually explain that it’s not about websites or software, it is about connectivity. If there is a “suit” in the room, I can usually prey on their need for a better bottom line.

But then what?

We all want instant results. We go to the gym twice and give up because the six-pack abs seem insurmountable, we toss a salad down our throats and call that health eating, we leave ourselves way little time to get there and expect every traffic light to turn in our favor.

We want it now and we’ll go to any lengths to avoid hard work. Instant rebates, no money down, exercise short-cuts, finance everything, the list goes on and on and on.

We have ourselves to blame

A buddy asked me yesterday “What does Twitter do?” My immediate response was “Nothing, it's a website”. He then quipped “I knew it! Why does everyone waste so much time on there?”

First of all, not everyone is on Twitter and it doesn’t do anything. I explained that it was about the connection and what the people do on Twitter.

My question to him was “What does ESPN do?” Along came a spirited explanation at which point I reminded him that the network doesn’t do anything – the people who work at the network are the ones doing stuff.

ESPN and Twitter are merely conduits.

Old school meets reality

A colleague has approached me to explain social media to one of their clients. This client represents a former politician who is trying to expand his reach and set himself up for a comeback. The tactic has been to focus on "mature voters" - the 45-60yr-old demographic.

If he wants to expand, he needs to reach new people and younger demos. I thought it was a pretty easy sell to explain how President Obama brought millions of younger voters to the polls through social media. However, this may take a bit more explaining.

now Now NOW

There is no shortage of data to explain human behavior and our lack of patience. There is increasing data to explain that social media is not some potion to cure all company ills.

Eating a piece of broccoli each day isn’t enough. Posting a few comments on Twitter isn’t either. No matter how much we jump up and down, popcorn still takes about three and a half minutes in the microwave.

How do you curb your impatience and need for instant results?

How do you teach others to have more patience?

km

 
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