I’m not particularly keen on ‘Social Media Geeks’. A bit like I’m not particularly keen on ‘Architecture Geeks’. You know, the type of people who talk only to their friends and people in their own sphere, and who can’t stop spouting incomprehensible twaddle in language only their converts can understand.
However, things can get interesting if you can ignore the twaddle and look for the point they are making underneath, a message that could be transferred to your own environment.
Some of these people are very successful business people, after all. They must be getting something right.
This is what happened with Robert Scoble’s Posterous Blog today. I was on the train and scanning through Saturday’s daily update of what people had been writing, and I came across this post:
Firstly its about cars (I’m only interested in cars if I can drive them, not talk about them) and then it asks his friend Chris Brogan for his opinion.
Fortunately I managed to read further and found the article was about how Robert Scoble had run into a Ford man and told him how he’d just bought a Toyota Prius, and how the Ford man reacted.
“What did he do? He admitted he bought one too. Then he promptly praised it. Then he explained how his product was different. He also made sure to mention his company’s advantages (that they’ve been doing this longer). All three got me to trust him. Well, as much as I’d trust anyone pitching a product.”
After that Robert goes on to explain that the Ford man, Steve Kovak, cares enough about the safety features on cars that he’s willing to engage in an honest discussion about what is important for the future of vehicle engineering, irrespective of what company he works for.
I think this is really important for architects.
Firstly, when was the last time you picked up the phone to a client who told you they wanted a particular service and said ‘Yes we do’ even though you never have before and know that there is a practice much better at that particular service in your area that they should use instead?
Maybe you even said yes when you know how difficult it is for you to make money on those sort of jobs because you really work better at something else?
Secondly, how long do you think that kind of behaviour is going to go on, now that we have the interactivity of the internet?
The power of interactivity is in the conversation. The conversations are taking place, with or without you. They always have done, but now they can be seen.
Its time to be honest about what you are good at, what others are better at, and look after everyone who contacts you. If we don’t do this the profession will die out.
*apologies to Robert Scoble for calling him a SM Geek. He does it himself, most people probably agree, and he’s a nice guy.
Mime image: The Mime at work by Noël Zia Lee