Influence. It's work.

This post is a little bit about social media influence and a little bit about life.
You hear the cliche it all the time - "there are no shortcuts in life." And yet in the social media world it's easy to promise shortcuts. The online influence world is populated and dominated by a muddy mix of bootstrap entrepreneurs, marketers of all kinds - especially the Amway types, gossips, visionaries, self-promoters and amalgamations of all the former. The tool kits of social media are in general very engaging and fun for short bursts of time. They promise ease and make success look simple.
But there are no shortcuts. It's terribly difficult to engage and motivate others, whether you're a manager, coach, personal trainer, business owner, parent, family member, priest, politician, cause activist or "social media maven."
Last night, I was talking with Richard White, founder and CEO of UserVoice, a simple tool for organizing online influence and interest. A few months back, Oklahoma community activist Sid Burgess and I went head to head soliciting votes in a Gov 2.0 UserVoice poll. Others were also competing, but Sid and I took it to a different level - videos, slides, video rebuttals, top 10 lists, e-mails, short links, and scores of tweets and status updates. It was good tongue-in-cheek fun, but it was also hard, hard work.
Recently, a San Francisco park was in the running for a grant from Sears, with a daily online click campaign picking the winner. A park in Virginia was far, far ahead, and bursts of energy in San Francisco generated interest from high-traffic blogs and the large local newspapers. Significant energy went into that campaign, but it hardly made a dent on the leaderboard.
Motivating people and changing their behavior takes sustained and intense effort. It doesn't matter if it's online or off, it's hard. Look at Carl Malamud, trying to change the way the U.S. stores and releases its legal history and records with the Law.gov project. Look at Al Gore, trying to change the basis of the energy that drives the world economy. Look at anyone running for election, and yes, look at those vying for online influence.
No shortcuts.

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  • published this page in Blog 2010-05-22 00:39:28 -0400

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