The Most Important Question Is, “Why?”
The Most Important Question Is, “Why?”
by

My mother called me Friday and said, “Did you see my Twit?” I told her we needed to work on the terminology a bit, but no, I had not seen her Tweet. Mom, who is the communications director for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 12 office, had apparently signed up for Twitter.

As I do with most of my clients, I asked, “Why do you want to be on Twitter?”

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 12 on Twitter“Because it’s an easy way to get real time road condition and emergency updates out to the pubic and the media,” mom said.

Bravo.

Too many times, especially when it comes to social media and technology, businesses flock to the hot new trend or the shiny new object with delusions of grandeur. Two years ago, clients would come to me and say, “I want a blog.” Today, they say, “I want a Facebook page,” or “I want a Twitter account.” My answer has always been the same: Why?

Seldom can answer that question.

Mom knew why before she ever started, which means she’ll probably be successful with it. The local television station in Hazard, Ky., has already told her they’re thrilled she’s a Tweetin’. It makes their job easier. Which is her job.

Good work mom.


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About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • Scoot159

    I like the fact that she was on top of it with a response. Most people shrug and say something like “I don't know…” then pause to think of a quick reason why. That's when you have to pull on the reigns and talk it out. In this case, yup, she's on.
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  • I couldn't agree more with her reasoning. I'm sure her interactions with you had something to do with grounding purpose with tool.

    It'd be interesting to learn how she's promoting the site, encouraging users to tap into the info she's making available.

    • Thanks, Heather. I'll see if she'll stop by and answer. I know since
      she's using it mostly for media, she's added the Twitter handle to her
      letterhead and email signatures and has proactively told them the
      account is there. More than that, I don't know. Thanks for asking!

  • With how life is perceived currently, no time, busy-busy, I like twitter because it allows me to catch up with friends, so at first, I use twitter as something like the 'coffee-corner', it allows me to catch up over what has happened, discuss stuff with my co-workers and after that, it allows me track websites and important news items (the last thing, I rather use RSS for as the stream of message is too great to keep up with all)

  • Hi Jason,

    Terrific post, I wish I had seen it sooner. The simple question “why?” is a great lead in to the much broader problem of having a complete marketing strategy in place. Understanding your customers, company, competitors, industry, and value has to come first. Then you can start to understand what communication tools you need, and why you should be using them.

    Sounds like your mom is a bright marketer!

    • She is. Thanks for pointing it out, Carl.

  • Hi Jason,”Why” is what most of the organizations don't understand and as they join a particular social media platform just because of the buzz created around it they don't have any answer when you ask this question.
    Thanks for sharing this quick yet useful insight.

    • Thanks for the comment, Akash. Appreciate the thoughts.

  • So, you are saying she taught you well?

  • Bravo to your Mom for “getting it”! She has obviously been paying attention to what her son does. Yeah, Mom Falls!

    • As stated earlier, please … no encouraging her. Heh.

      • But that's the fun part! Leaving you to answer the next question, “How?” :)

  • Great blog that you have here and if I am honest I have never seen information as good quality as this information. Learning so much from you already.

    • Glad to be of service, Mark. Thanks for the comment.

  • firealarmsystems

    Yes, What you have said in the article is 100% right. The most important question in any field is why? . And it is must to know the reason of any thing.

  • I like the fact that she was on top of it with a response. Most people shrug and say something like “I don't know…” then pause to think of a quick reason why. That's when you have to pull on the reigns and talk it out. In this case, yup, she's on top of it…

    So I guess you take after Mom a bit heh Jason? :-P

  • Well it's really a nice post. In past people wants blog but today they say i want a facebook page or twitter account. Social Media has changed people's life.

  • That was a great post :) The power of the question “why?”

  • That was a great post :) The power of the question “why.”

  • That was a great post :) The power of the question “why.”

  • That's a nice story. I wonder if my mom even knows what twitter is, probably not. That's really effective way to confuse people by asking the question “Why?”

  • drdavehale

    Right on Mom!!!

    Dr. Dave Hale
    The Internet Marketing Professor

    • Please don't encourage her. Heh. Thanks, Dr. Dave!

  • That's a nice story. I wonder if my mom even knows what twitter is, probably not. That's really effective way to confuse people by asking the question “Why?”

    • Ah … not meant to confuse, but to clarify. Neat Jedi mind trick,
      though. Thanks for the comment.

  • (applause.)

  • Sara George

    Well we remember when you tried to tell me I was a technophobe. I wouldn't use a desktop computer because, as a compositor, my old Varityper was my friend. I didn't even have an email account until forced by my work to do so. Therefore, your comments are a high compliment. I am even learning how to post to our website. I volunteered for the job to force myself to learn something new.

    However, what I think I said was I started a Twitter account and posted my first tweet and you were the first twit I was sending it to. It was supposed to be funny.

  • Geike

    Well we remember when you tried to tell me I was a technophobe. I wouldn't use a desktop computer because, as a compositor, my old Varityper was my friend. I didn't even have an email account until forced by my work to do so. Therefore, your comments are a high compliment. I am even learning how to post to our website. I volunteered for the job to force myself to learn something new.

    However, what I think I said was I started a Twitter account and posted my first tweet and you were the first twit I was sending it to. It was supposed to be funny.

    Alas, however, I am unschooled, as you know. I tried to put a link to the Twitter account on my email letterhead and it doesn't work. How do I do that? I probably can't afford your expertise, so just refer me to someone who will tell me for free!

    • Love it. I'm leaving the extra comment up just so people have proof you really are learning on the go. Glad you signed it Sara George for the second one. Explaining “Geike” would get old. Heh.

      And I don't know what email software/letterhead you're using but just putting “http://twitter.com/KYTCDistrict12” ought to do it. That'll be $500. Heh.

      • Sorry, I gotta side with Mom. You are a twit. ;)

        • Turning on comment moderation now. Heh.

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  • Jason –

    This is such a wonderful (short) read. As you said, “bravo” to your mom. I find that it's less about the inability to answer the “Why” and more about what the ultimate answer is. Often the answer to why are you on twitter, why are you blogging, etc. is “because everyone else is doing it.” Sometimes the answer is even worse, “because my boss told me we needed to do it.”

    Thanks again for a short but sweet post.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow

    • Thanks, D.J. Mom's pretty sharp. (Ironically not one for brevity …
      heh … but sharp.) Thanks for saying so.

    • Right on DJ. It's pretty much the same in email isn't it? If you are in business that answer always has to come back to “provide value”. Businesses make money providing value. Jason's mom gets funded to provide value.

      So you have to ask: “does this provide value?” “To whom?” and “How do I know?” which gets to measurement.

      • Chris –

        You got it! Email and social media are very very similar. I'm hoping that the email folks can teach the social media folks a few things … and vice versa. We're a very good fit.

        No Park City (Email Insider Summit) for you anymore, huh? See you in Miami for EEC? Or are you all blogging these days?

        DJ Waldow
        Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
        @djwaldow

  • Your mom should talk to my old boss (at a local Louisville company you likely know) and get him up to speed. He was talking about getting on Facebook and Twitter for months, yet he's never even used either platform and freely admits that he doesn't understand it's purpose whatsoever. His primary position was “I hear so much about it and everyone else is using it.”

    Of course his follow up plan on how to utilize it was push marketing oriented by sending faceless discount links and promotional messages… and he wonders why he's failing at seeing any return at all while other businesses in his industry are getting it to work for them quite well. :-)

    • Sounds like mom could help him. Thanks for the comment, Jordan.

    • Jordan,

      I hear this a lot. Often people are intimidated or embarrassed by their ignorance. Start with a simple demo, or “hey, boss you want to see how I use this…”

      I just had a recent prospect doing the same thing. That simple line and a quick demo with her hovered over my shoulder (on a my tiny Netbook) changed everything. I got their by-in and an enthusiastic new champion/client.