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The Original Social Media Guru June 8, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Book Reviews, Networking.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If you spend any time doing anything on the internet, you will soon stumble across a special kind of expert who is just dying to help you improve your virtual social life.  These self-professed Social Media Gurus promise to reveal deep secrets about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, all designed to garner you more followers, more attention, and more interest on the internet.

Let’s face it: the vast, vast majority of Social Media Gurus know just a teeny bit more than you do about all this stuff.  If you really wanted to learn their secrets, ten minutes with Google (or Bing, which is growing on me) will make you a Social Media Guru, too.  And if you really want 100,000 followers, or friends, or connections, one mortifying YouTube video should do the trick.

All these social networking tools are just communication tools: conduits for information. You can learn the mechanics of any of them in a day, and absorb most of the culture in a week.  But that doesn’t make you any more social, although you may have made a good start at a network.

What matters is what you send over those conduits.  The information you share and how you respond to others is what’s important. It’s the content that counts, not the mechanics of the tool.

Most modern Social Media Gurus want to teach you the mechanics.  This is not social networking, just like understanding the mechanics of a piano is not going to make you a piano player.  Very few Social Media Gurus can teach you what to send using these systems, once you have mastered the mechanics.

Sadly, the very best Social Media Guru died in 1955, before any of these things were invented. Fortunately for us, he wrote down all his secrets well before he passed away.  That Guru was Dale Carnegie, and his secrets are revealed in his book, How To Win Friends & Influence People.

If you have never read this book, do yourself a great favor and pick up a copy.  For Amazon’s bargain price of $8.70 ($0.96 on your Kindle) you can learn the secrets of the greatest Social Media Guru in history.  Carnegie’s book is easy to read, with each concept presented in a short chapter with supporting anecdotes.  If even that’s too much for you, he summarizes each chapter with a one-line moral at the end.  The anecdotes are delightful, recalling social situations from the 1920’s and 1930’s that are still relevant today.

If you have read this book before, read it again.  You will have the same revelations all over again, and be even more committed to changing the way you communicate with people. Carnegie was among the first, and is still the best, Social Media Guru.

I won’t even try to summarize Carnegie’s advice here.  Click the link above, buy the book, and start your summer reading with the one book that could truly improve every relationship you have.

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1. Heather Hollick - June 8, 2009

Very well said. I used to smile at all of the “Social Media Experts” as if they had the keys to some hidden code. Now I realize that they are like the outfitters in a gold rush. They will sell you a pick and shovel but they have no better idea where the gold is than you do.

Dale Carnegie knows. Want to know how to use Twitter? Build a strong network. Follow each other on Twitter and Tweet to keep the links between you fresh.

Want to know how to use LinkedIn? Build a strong network. Use LinkedIn to reflect the breadth and depth of that network. Keep your profile current and complete so your connections know a lot about you. Post a photo. These things will strengthen the links between you.

It is all about the links. Or, as Dale Carnegie might have said, it is all about the relationships. The tools only enhance and amplify what is already formed in the relationships. With no connections there isn’t much to amplify. With strong connections the amplification is amazing!

You made my day Chuck. Thanks for posting this at the beginning of a week.

2. Chuck Musciano - June 8, 2009

Heather: thanks for the comment!

Everyone else: Heather is too modest to tout herself here, so I will do it for her. Heather really does Get It, and gives an excellent series of presentations on how to effectively network, both electronically and socially. I saw her presentation last fall and it really opened my eyes to become a far more effective networker.

So today I offer two bits of advice: buy the book, and then click her link, above, to get in touch with Heather. Whether one-on-one or working with a group, she will give you advice and insight you really can’t get anywhere else.

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4. Greg Smith - August 1, 2009

Great article. It’s what I tell my students (none of whom use Twitter, by the way).

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6. Susan Cato - December 28, 2009

Great post. I work in the field and am really tired of all of the “experts” preaching about how to use social media. Being in the trenches every day for a large trade association, I have discovered that it takes time to nurture relationships, develop content, and most of all, listen and learn! With patience and a “how much can we learn from our members/customers” approach, we can create a better online experience for everyone involved.

7. Stephanie Michele - February 17, 2010

I so agree, he was and is relevant to social development no matter if you are using today’s tools or not you still need the foundation he taught. I blogged about this as well: http://www.socialbling.org/?p=8

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