Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone, Or Else

by Jason Falls |

Everyone lives in a bubble to a certain degree. Maybe you call it a comfort zone. Perhaps you don’t call it anything but stay locked in, blinders on, to your industry, company or job.

The social media world is very much a bubble. And too much of one in my opinion. Consultants, practitioners, bloggers and enthusiastic agency types sit around in a big circle jerk telling each other how much they love each other’s blogs and hash-tagging the crap out of useless drivel on Twitter all day.

Confused man - Shutterstock - Hart PhotographyFor every one practitioner who actually offers up useful insight that shows they live in reality, not righteousness, there are 25 more who expose their inexperience like a streaker in church. I feel bad for them, though I don’t condemn them. Good ideas have been known to come from people not wearing pants.

(For the record, there are still others who don’t have the interest or the capacity to work with clients and carry on a hyperactive social media front, so they choose to be good professionals rather than show offs. Then there are a couple of us who are expedient and efficient enough to do both.)

Two encounters last week continued to solidify my opinion that the social media echo chamber is so far detached from the real world that it may very well be headed for a bubble-busting. At last week’s Louisville Free Public Library Author Series event with Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick, the question-answer period featured these (paraphrased) ditties:

  • “Isn’t social search a violation of your privacy?”
  • “Can’t someone provide some sort of protection for age-appropriate material on Facebook?”
  • “You say Facebook is a conduit for all this good. Isn’t it also a conduit for baseless hatred?”

After the presentation, an older gentleman (library author event crowds typically bring out a demographic more advanced in years) approached me and said he didn’t want to be on Facebook because he didn’t care what the guy down the street was doing. When I explained to him that A) He didn’t have to be that guy’s friend on Facebook and wouldn’t see he was doing or that B) He could friend him but filter out his activity to ignore what he was doing, the man almost declared he’d go sign up for an account right then.

The other encounter was one that really floored me. I had my aunt, an admitted computer and Internet novice, review a new website I’ve launched for people just like her. She spent several hours on the site and called me with feedback. She then spent 40 minutes giving me all the things that confused or bothered her, not about the site, but about the home page.

It is my belief that there’s the social media and even Internet marketing echo chamber and then there’s the other 95 percent of the world (or more). And unfortunately, ne’er the two shall meet these days. Social media enthusiasts are too busy polishing each other’s knobs to teach anymore. Try to find some good, 101-level social media content on the web these days — fresh content — and let me know how long it takes you to get frustrated.

There’s a whole world of people out there that need our help, gang. Some of them want to embrace the tools and technology and get smarter. Others don’t even know there’s smarter to be had. And then there’s the cybernazi-fearing gentleman from the library event who wouldn’t piss on social media if it was on fire.

Get outside your comfort zone. Leave the bubble. Hold out a hand and say, “let me show you a trick that will make that easier,” to someone who could use it.

If we don’t bring more people into the fold, we’re all going to be out of work soon.

What are you going to do today to teach someone something? The comments are yours.

IMAGE: From Shutterstock by Hart Photography.

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).