Playing in the Sandbox

August 24, 2009
By stuartfoster in Social Media

The social industry is one that is full of contradiction, opposing advice and best practices that can be obsolete in a month. Thus the best practitioners in this industry should be experimenting, creating, and thinking about better ways to implement the tools that have been created.

An interesting dynamic has developed amongst these practitioners/thought leaders: One group keeps learning and experimenting and is continuously being an early-adopter. The other group steps back from the race and teaches core concepts to a client  base. Both are vital to the continuation and growing acceptance of social as a valuable tool to be used by companies. However, which is the better path?

Is it better to keep questioning? Or start teaching? Can you do both?

You have to do both in order to be truly successful in implementing what you can provide for businesses. Being proficient in a tool or technique isn’t important unless you can demonstrate how it could be useful to others. On the same token: you can’t keep teaching the same lesson indefinitely.

Playing in the sandbox becomes paramount to your survival as a result. If you aren’t exposing your client base to new information, technology and practices you are doing them a disservice.

If  you can’t effectively take your clients from point A to point B with their pre-existing skill sets and tools you aren’t valuable to them. Period. They need to be pushed, helped and convinced of the merit of what you are preaching. (All while not *technically* being forced to implement these changes.)

Thus, you face a dilemma: Pander to clients or pander to the experimental early adopter crowd?

The ideal approach: Monetize your knowledge while still being able to accrue more of it. It’s almost like being at the craps table. You need to find the balance between when you should cash out or stay for another round.

Finding a balance between these two options is essential to maintain your sanity, client pool, and street cred. The best players know when to quit AND when to keep playing.

Photo Credit: Forever Photo

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