Social Media Myth No. 1 "It's about the conversation"

“Social media is all about the conversation”, I think that phrase started to rankle me around last July and I couldn’t figure out why.

It’s something I have taught people in my training class for years, so it’s not like I haven’t agreed with it. Blog – people comment – you reply – they blog – you reply, blah blah blah, yada yada yada.

Also with twitter, you tweet, they tweet, we all tweet.

And round it goes.

But it may be that the thinking is wrong. After all, the objective is not to have a conversation, the objective is something else, be it:

  • Links
  • Exposure
  • Sales
  • Branding

The objective is not the conversation, that is merely a stepping stone and yes it is an important and useful stepping stone, but it is not the objective.

I realise this may get me kicked out of the Secret Social Media Marketing Society, but social media marketing is not about conversation, it’s about getting people to do what you want.

This guy, Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli…

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

…. probably has more to teach us on social media networking than Chris Brogan, Brian Sollis, David Meerman Scott, Robert Scoble, Darren Rowse, Mark Hughes, Josh Bernoff etc. Although I have learned from you all and you are all at the top of your game, I can’t help thinking that you need to dig down and get into the root nature of human interaction and manipulation to really understand the fundamentals of social media.

Sure Machiavelli is not going to teach us how to integrate a twitter feed onto our blog, but he is going to teach us something about the nature of mankind. And although we use a lot of technology to do what we do, at its core is the human being with all the ancient brilliance that that entails. It’s not until you understand people and their motivations and the way people are, that you can truly understand what social media is about.

The chaps above who I have mentioned all know this, they are all students of human nature and have simply used a technological interface (social media) to employ what they know.

Social media marketing is not about conversation, it’s about getting people to do what you want them to do.