To Freedom

I think it was Oscar Wilde who is quoted as saying words to the effect of “Look which way everyone is going and do the opposite”.

If I’m mis-quoting, as always you’re welcome to correct me.

This quote came to mind recently when thinking about social networks. More specifically how businesses use social networks.

The Human Filter

Many years ago, I came up with a very simple way of explaining how to do social media when consulting with companies who wanted to make better use of the Internet. It was this simple phrase:

“You are the human filter of all the information in your market”.

What that means is this.

We are in the information age. Information is available to everyone within seconds. So there’s nothing really that someone knows that you can’t find out about online.

Similarly there’s little that you know that someone else couldn’t find out with a few Google searches.

The problem is that there is so much information it’s tough to know what to take notice of. Sure I can subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters, visit some blogs each day, read online magazines in a particular industry but that’s terribly time consuming and I might not know what I’m looking for if it’s outside my area of expertise.

The clients I’ve consulted with for example, they want to use the Internet to get more customers. These clients are interested in Internet marketing. Now there’s so much information online about Internet marketing it’s bordering on ridiculous.

So what’s a client to do? Spend hours each day reading it all and trying to work out (a) what it all means and (b) how to apply it to their business? They could but it would be easier and more effective if they had a way of distilling it all down to the core of what mattered to them.

This is where the human filter concept comes in. If you use the example of someone who was providing Internet marketing consultancy to small businesses, this consultant is probably already subscribed to all those blogs and email newsletters that the client has been trying to get their head around. The difference is that the client doesn’t have the experience to know what matters.

The consultant on the other hand has a trained eye and can pick and choose specific items to share with their contacts, thereby filtering out all the irrelevant information.

The client can then simply subscribe to this one trusted consultants newsletter, Facebook page or LinkedIn page and have the peace of mind that what makes it into the newsletter is all they need to know.

– Stop Shouting –
What I observe many businesses doing on social media is just shouting. They post and share article after article after article in an effort to cut through all the noise in social networks. Don’t you see though that all they are doing is adding to the noise?

Have you ever been in a room full of people who start talking quietly and then over time each group talks a bit louder so they can hear others in their group? The next group then talks a bit louder so they can hear each other until the noise builds up to quite a significant volume. That’s what happens on social networks.

Yes you have to get your business out there on social networks. Yes you should post stuff on your profiles, blogs and send out emails. But I personally would encourage quality over quantity.

How often do I post a new blog? Every 4 to 6 weeks? That’s true for the past few articles at least. I don’t do this intentionally it’s simply because I decided only to write when I had something to say.

Could I generate more posts than this? Yes no doubt about it. I could brainstorm 100 article ideas in theory. But the articles would be contrived and would have to be written consciously.

There is a place for that kind of thing when you are going for SEO traffic for example but not so much if you are trying to build trust and credibility with real human beings.

You could say we have left the information age behind and are now in the ‘information overload age’. Such is the value of the people willing to provide their human filtering service.

As a professional speaker I have several role models but my idol is Les Brown who taught me that “the best speakers make the fewest words go the furthest”.

I guess that’s a philosophy that underpins what I have been saying here. You can follow my blog on and trust that your inbox won’t get flooded and when there is a new article to read it would have some depth to it.

There’s nothing I love more than the objective perspective one gets when someone gives feedback on my ideas. So please do so.

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