If you read this blog, odds are good that you follow Jason on Twitter or Facebook. If that’s the case, you’re probably aware that Jason is currently recovering from surgery. Â
Unless, of course, you were actually following our suggestion from last week that you spend your holiday break not checking social media sites. Â (I wasn’t able to do it entirely either, natch.) Â So for this week, at least, you’ll have to make do with David and me. Â
As we’re approaching the new year, it’s a natural time to start making those big picture, long range plans to dominate the world of blogging, podcasting and other social media in 2009. Â
In the French household, we traditionally have a New Year’s Eve movie party, where we hang out with friends, eat, drink, and watch our perennial favorite movies from over the years. Â Every year, we plan to watch either the Lord of the Rings or Star Wars saga in all its unabridged, 12-hour glory. Â Every year, we fail to do so. Â So I thought I would combine my love of cheesy cult movies with some End of Year Planning for today’s post.
First Cult Movie Lesson: Â Be Helpful and Transparent About Your Motivations.
Inigo Montoya: I donna suppose you could speed things up?Â
Westley: If you’re in such a hurry, you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.Â
Inigo Montoya: I could do that. I have some rope up here, but I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.Â
Westley: That does put a damper on our relationship.Â
Social media runs on social capital. Â Social capital is earned by giving. Â Be helpful, be a resource, “find something useful to do.” Â But let’s face it–we all have our own motivations for doing this–and that’s okay, as long as we’re open and honest about them. Â Especially if your motivations are evolving as you move into 2009, keep communicating that evolution. Â Some motives (making money among them) will probably never win you any popularity contests.Â Â Be honest about them anyway. Â
Second Cult Movie Lesson: Â Remember the FundamentalsÂ
Lisa: You had to be big shots didn’t you. You had to show off. When are you gonna learn that people will like you for who you are, not for what you can give them. Well, in your race for power and glory, you forgot one small detail.Â
Wyatt: We forgot to hook up the doll.Â
Lisa: You forgot to hook up the doll.Â
Social media practitioners are early adopters, always on the lookout for newer, faster, shinier tools. Â We tend to tinker, always tweaking our blogs and profiles with new widgets or a new theme. Â But in that constant tinkering, pimping, tweaking, and experimenting, it’s important to not lose sight of the basics. Â Producing great content. Â Maintaining consistent frequency. Â Optimizing for search. Â Building relationships. Â Do this well, and you can get by without every bell and whistle. Â Don’t do it well, and there’s not a widget on earth that will help you succeed. Â Â
Third Cult Movie Lesson: Always Be on the Lookout for Allies
Reggie Lampert: I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.Â
Peter Joshua: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.Â
If you’re thinking about strategy for 2009, you need to be thinking about strategic relationship building. Â Do you have a mentor? If not, finding one needs to be on your 2009 to-do list. Â If you’re a “journeyman” practictioner, consider taking on a protege or two. Â We often learn by teaching better than we do by studying others. Â Either way, be judicious in your search–find someone who is motivated, but doesn’t stay constantly too overcommitted to make a good partner.Â
Final Cult Movie Lesson: Â Balance is Key.Â
Daniel: When do I learn how to punch?Â
Miyagi: Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?
It’s easy to get consumed by the work, because honestly, this is fun work. Â It’s easy to let things get out of balance. Â As you work your social media strategy for 2009, remember to take time away from the keyboard to maintain a life that’s rich in relationships and real-world experiences. Â The bonus is that those things can only improve your work.
So that’s my list of four valuable lessons to be learned from Hollywood while planning for 2009. Â Got any to add? Â Drop them in the comments.