The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Jul 16, 2010

Two weeks ago, I attended the Social Media Day event held at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, CA. The event drew more than 300 people from diverse industries and with varying levels of social media experience.

The Orange County traffic gods must have been smiling upon me that day because I arrived early and found myself seated next to three women who were all part of a local professional networking group. All were experienced professional communicators eager to learn how to incorporate social media into their day-to-day business communications activities.

It didn’t take long for them to figure out what I do for a living and that’s when the question floodgates opened. They peppered me with questions about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. We talked about blogs and online video. Energized by how passionate they were about their craft and their clients, I answered happily. Their flow of questions were temporarily interrupted by the event, yet resumed during the intermission. Heck, I didn’t even have a chance leave my chair before the next panelist session started!

We exchanged business cards; I went home; and they went to dinner to discuss the event. All three contacted me separately during the next week and it was through these little conversations that I heard about the dinner conversation.

One of women summarized the discussion in an email to me:

The panel consisted of “enthusiasts” and “experts.” More of the first, if you ask me…I think it’s those “enthusiasts” who give social media it’s bad rap or negative connotations.

Their assessment is one of the largest inhibitors to corporate social media adoption. If professional business owners feel that social media is tied more to “enthusiasts” than business “practitioners,” they’ll be slow to consider social media adoption.

Are you a social media enthusiast or a practitioner? Do you play/dabble with social media, or are you seeking better ways of communicating with your customers?

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Enthusiasts play. Practitioners work.

Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon


Filed under: Social Media


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tamsen McMahon, Sametz Blackstone. Sametz Blackstone said: Social media Enthusiasts play and Practitioners work, says @RonPloof. Which are you? ^TM […]

Tweets that mention RonAmok! ┬╗ Social Media Enthusiasts --
July 16, 2010

That's too bad the crop of enthusiasts they encountered were bad apples. Beyond their meeting, and in the broader sense, the choice of enthusiast or practitioner is more a matter of semantics isn't it? I chose enthusiast for myself because I think it connotes a thirst for the medium. But I am a practitioner, which is evident in my work. I guess that makes me an enthusiastic practitioner! Tell the ladies not to be swayed by a couple lame panelists. Social media is here to stay so they should continue on the journey – learn it, work it, and make it your own.

cathy ann sauer
July 16, 2010

well stated…
I'm a practhusiast. or an enthutioner. or something.

July 16, 2010

You have to be both, I have found. I was trying to be a practitioner without really the enthusiast part. Ron was kind enough to set me up with my own blog recently, and now I've got the enthusiasm. I WANT to learn. Before, I felt I HAD to learn. Big difference.

Mike Kilroy
July 16, 2010

It's funny. I think that the terms we use to describe ourselves evolves over time. In 2007, I called myself an evangelist, because social media needed evangelism at that time. Today, execs are pummeled with the many social media terms. So, rather than being evangelized, they need to be shown how this stuff works for business…something enthusiasts rarely do.

My concern isn't with “enthusiasm,” (heaven knows I have enough of THAT) but with the way these three professional communicators used it. If they consider social media as simply a playground for enthusiasts, how many other business folks are thinking the same things?

As for them being discouraged, no need to worry. They've already asked me to speak at their September event:-)

July 16, 2010

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.