Wizard of Oz: 7 Social Media Lessons

Cowardly Lion: All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there....

There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.

Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow: What's that?

Cowardly Lion: Talk me out of it!

1. Begin the journey & don't let anyone talk you out of it!

The adventures you will encounter in social media will, truly, in many respects, be no less remarkable than the adventures encountered by that unlikely and timorous quartet that joined forces to go after their dreams in the Wizard of Oz. There are plenty of reasons not to begin the journey or to abandon the journey: fear of the known and unknown, limited resources, inexperience, unexpected obstacles, critics. However, just as in Oz where the journey offered the only real hope of achieving important goals, so, too, in today's world does social media offer the only hope of achieving many important goals, whether for an individual, business or non-profit.

...Now, more properly, one might have expected lesson number one to talk about planning. Sometimes, however, like the characters in Oz, we find ourselves swept up in a journey before we realize it's even begun, needing to learn and improvise along the way. It's how most journeys happen. Don't be discouraged by this: just know that you will need to learn and improvise along the way!

2. Be social.

'Be social?' We're only on lesson two and we're being told to 'Be social.' That's part of the problem! What does 'being social' mean in the world of social media!

Being "social" in the world of social media is like being social in the Wizard of Oz or, more simply, in the "real world." But let's stick with our analogy: take Dorothy, who almost assuredly would be referred to disparagingly by some as a "social media climber" because of her lack of formal pedigree, her "learn-as-you-go" approach, and her doggedness; yet, to others with discernment, she would be quickly recognized as a social media adept, someone with an innate knack for being "social":

  • She was always polite even under the most strenuous of circumstances and even when being insistent;

  • She knew how to make friends along the way: she would introduce herself, be transparent about her intentions, authentic about who she was and where she came from and where she wanted to go, and eager to help whenever she could;

  • She listened to what others were saying and shared her thoughts;

  • She was always eager to learn about and from others she met along the way.

 3. Build a team along the way.

Dorothy was expert at this. She did it in a social way, by simply talking with and helping others she met along the way. She was quick to invite others to join her in her journey. The best friends you'll meet in social media are those who share in the love of learning. As you offer to help them, they will offer to help you. Social media changes at such a dizzying pace that the team you build along the way will be able to assist you in many unexpected ways. Don't go it alone. Build a team by being social.

4. Know that it's okay to be scared along the way.

There's much to learn along the way in social media, much that is confusing, much that can be disheartening, scary. If you're accustomed to traditional PR and marketing, you'll quickly discover you're not in Kansas anymore.  Things are very different.  Centralized messaging doesn't work.  Indeed, "messaging" itself doesn't work if it's not part of a real conversation.  Work through your fears. The friends you make in social media, by chatting or tweeting with them, will help you overcome your fears and equip you better for your journey. What you do not have by way of knowledge in one area, those you have connected with along the may well have in abundance and you, likewise, for them. Ask, share, and learn.

5. Know that you will encounter unexpected obstacles  and "haters" along the way.

Along their way to Oz, the gradually-emboldened quartet found that they were besieged by many unexpected obstacles and "haters" - those who wanted to turn them back from achieving their goals. Know that you, too, will encounter many unexpected obstacles and a few such haters along the way, though most of the "haters" you will  encounter will be without the charm of those encountered by Dorothy and her companions. Do not be discouraged by the obstacles.  Work through them.  As to the "haters" - don't give them much of your time or energy. Move past them as quickly as you can.  And, whenever needed, turn to your social media companions for support.

6. Be yourself, know what makes you special, and celebrate it.

What endeared Dorothy to nearly everyone she met, was her simple, determined way, her honesty....Oh, yes...AND her ruby slippers. Now Dorothy was a plain country girl, yet, she had a pair of ruby slippers that were the talk of the town wherever she went. They helped make her who she was. Dorothy was smart enough to figure this out and not to take them off or give them away. What the heck am I talking about? Figure out what makes you special and be who you are. If you're true to yourself in social media and show a bit of who you really are, you will find success. Why?  Because most people genuinely like others, however quirky they may be, when they show and share themselves. If you give away what makes you special, you're unlikely to meet success in the journey of social media.

7. Continue on your journey, whatever the bumps, and you're likely to achieve your goals.

Beginning the journey, identifying goals, listening and speaking and sharing with others, collaborating with others, overcoming obstacles, improvising, learning, dreaming, keeping focused on your goals....You just may discover yourself achieving your goals in spite of all of the uncertainties, obstacles, fears, doubts, and improvisations along the way....

Dorothy: Weren't you frightened?

Wizard of Oz: Frightened? Child, you're talking to a man who's laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe....I was petrified.


Anonymous said...

great post!
I like being social and engaging with people and all the followers are not quality, only some of them are and those are the ones i interact with.

Rob said...

Just wanted to say something regarding the "haters" - a word which I'm coming to dislike.

Haters may not always be wrong. Negativity isn't good - but they just may lack the tact to give constructive criticism. Don't discount what they say unless it's pure name calling. There may be something you can learn from them. To that end - some may just not understand your rules - see CHris Brogan's post on the Rules of the Pool: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/rules-of-the-pool/

Also remember that people who have positive experiences are not as vocal as those who feel they are treated poorly, or have a poor experience with a product. To wit - Honda's Social Media experience:


Transparency is key - and courtesy and politeness is key too. In the auto industry - of COURSE the people who had trouble with their cars are going to come out vocally anywhere you are - they find a piblic forum in which to vent and also hope that maybe Honda will DO something about their problems.


Janet Rudd said...

Excellent post! Thank-you

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