The Difference Between Craig’s List And Social Media

by Jason Falls |

My wife probably thinks social media is something you need penicillin for. She only signed up for Facebook because I found out about her high school friend Erin’s second pregnancy two weeks before she did. She’s on Twitter because I wanted to reserve her name and be funny one night. Otherwise, my dear Nancy thinks social media keeps her husband from doing work around the house, makes her watch the kids by herself for 6-10 days a month and is nearing “intervention” status.

But this week she found Craig’s List.

I left on Wednesday to attend the Optimization Summit in Dallas. I came back Friday afternoon and two-thirds of my house was gone. She tried to sell our utility room but realized it might get drafty with that 12X15 hole between the den and the garage.

Free beer fridge
Image by Simon Lieschke via Flickr

“I put the green chair’s ottoman on Craig’s List and sold it in 43 minutes!” she told me, proudly. “And Jeff is coming by before dinner to haul off the garage refrigerator … FOR FREE!”

I thought for a minute.

“Who’s Jeff and why are we getting rid of the garage refrigerator?”

“Some guy from Craig’s List and it’s missing a couple shelves and the freezer doesn’t get cold enough.”

After a short discussion about how Jeff wasn’t from Craig’s List and hearing her explanation of which device will now keep our cookout beer cold, I learned she still had seven outstanding items left on the website. I was relieved neither of my children were among them, but what that meant was Nancy’s cell phone didn’t stop ringing the rest of the day.

In a strange way, I reveled in the fact that my wife was finally finding something useful in the world of social media. Her coupon-clipping and quest-for-a-deal shopping mentality only needed to find a social channel that would feed her beast. Now, she’s discovering usefulness in social media.

My wife is much like mainstream consumers. They may or may not be on a social channel, but certainly don’t use them or think of them the way we in the echo chamber do. Social media to them is just a website they found that produces a practical outcome. It’s keeping up with their friends, scrap booking their child’s life or selling their husband’s beer fridge without his knowledge.

Much of what I’ve been up to recently has been focused on bridging the gap between us and them. I want to evangelize and make social media more accessible, meaningful and comfortable for the masses. The more of them that dig the world we live in, the more work and play there is to go around for us all.

I turned to my wife after the fourth cell phone call Friday afternoon and said, “I find it hysterical that the one person I know who abhors social media has now subjected herself to random strangers calling her cell phone all weekend.”

“But this is cool to me,” she responded. “I enjoy meeting new people, talking to them and having a real interaction, not a fake one on some website.”

I thought for a moment and said, “I get to meet new people, talk to them and have real interactions, too. But the way I do it is better than the way you do it.”

“Why?” she asked.

I smiled and said, “Because I don’t have to smell them.”

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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).