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  August 12, 2011
The Giant Pink Elephant...

This past week I had the opportunity to attend a seminar hosted by SCORE, a non-profit free consulting service provided through a partnership with the Small Business Administration.

In the past, I’ve attended several other SCORE seminars in order to stay abreast with current trends, new ideas, and other resources to help my small but growing business.The seminars are very low-cost, incredibly informative and I highly recommend them to any current and/or future business person.

The workshop this week was entitled "Social Media for Small Business - Harnessing the Groundswell" (I’m told that "Groundswell" is a well-known term coined by social media guru Josh Bernoff).

Although I have been working with computers throughout my entire adult life, I feel as though I still really don’t get the idea of social media.Yes, I have a Facebook account as well as a LinkedIn account, but I really am not active on either site - except perhaps to add new contacts after I’ve been "friend requested".

I don’t tweet. I don’t farm.I generally don’t post items to my or people’s walls. I don’t recommend restaurants on Yelp or medical providers on Angie’s List. I’ve never uploaded any cute videos on YouTube hoping that it’ll go "viral".

Most 15-year old kids have forgotten more about social media that I ever knew.

As I listened to the gal in the front of the room go through her presentation as to why it’s so important for businesses to have a presence in social media, I kept thinking to myself, "who has the time to do all this stuff?"

Then she got to a point in her presentation where she recited some statistics regarding social media:

  • Facebook now has more than 750 million active users (including more than 100M in the US). 50% of all Facebook users log onto their account at least one a day. Each user has on average 130 connected friends and creates 90 pieces of content each month.

  • Twitter has 200 million registered accounts - in only 5 years of existence. 25 billion (with a "b") messages were sent via Twitter in 2010 and has grown to 110 million tweets per day as of May 2011.

  • Flickr currently hosts over 4 billion shared images.

  • There is now 25 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day. People view 5 billion minutes of YouTube each day.

  • In December of 2009, there were 50 million registered LinkedIn accounts by December 2010, there were 110 million accounts and by June of 2011 there were 200 million accounts.
My thoughts quickly turned from "who has the time to do this?" to..."how can any business simply ignore these facts?"...

When Willie Sutton was asked by reporters why he robbed banks, he replied. "that’s where they keep the money".

Businesses should be using social media because frankly, that’s where the people are.

The rest of the workshop covered the ins and outs of the different services, how to create accounts and participate, and some design elements.

She went on and on about the mechanics but virtually ignored the giant pink elephant in the room.

I like to call it the "Steve Martin method to making a million dollars".

In 1978, the then stand-up comedian, Steve Martin, recorded a live album called "Let’s Get Small". During his performance, he explained in great detail to his audience "the secret of making a million dollars:

  1. Step one...first get a million dollars...

  2. Step two... "
Now somewhere along in my life I’ve read a bunch of "get-rich" books that basically describe the above "Steve Martin method to making a million dollars"...all you have to do to make a million dollars is one (or more) of the following:

  • Create a great new product that everyone will buy

  • Develop a great new idea and sell your idea to a wealthy corporation or individual

  • Write a best-selling book

  • Record a record and then sell it as a theme song to a hit TV show (i.e. Friends or MASH)

  • Work a 4-hour week doing "important stuff" rather than "unimportant stuff"

  • Purchase stocks (or other things) that you can highly leverage and will go up in value (I wonder where is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" today?)
So the more and more I listen to the teacher in front of the classroom, the more I start thinking about Steve Martin...

All I need to do is to create a "killer" fuse app... an OptiFuse FaceBook account and get millions of people to "like" it...start tweeting several times a day about fuses and their applications... produce the next "viral" video showing how fuses protect people and equipment...

...and then we’ll make million dollars in new sales!! (after of course I get millions of followers)

It’s so simple! Anyone can do it!

I suppose that it COULD happen...It’s has been done before...

As in most anything...there will be that one person who wins the mega lottery...creates a new viral video...wins American Idol...writes a best seller on their first try...invents a pet rock...

Yes it’s possible...just not very probable.

The giant pink elephant in the room is CONTENT...

Yes...(most) everyone knows how to talk and/or write...but only a few people have anything meaningful say to people who actually want to listen...just because you talk louder or more often doesn’t mean that you have anything interesting to say.

Social media may be a good way to connect a lot of people together but when everyone starts talking at once...it soon just becomes a lot of noise and is quickly ignored.

Quality always trumps quantity.

Of course...I’m telling you all of this via my weekly blog...so what do I know...maybe this social media thing isn’t such a bad idea after all...
Thank you very much for supporting OptiFuse where our goal is to bring you ideas (and products) that you can use.

Jim Kalb


Previous Blogs

The Competitive Spirit...

The Artist Inside of Us...

Anything is Possible...

The Roadmap to Success...

A Glimpse Behind the Curtain...

The Great Acquisition...

As the Sun Sets...

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