Independent Thinking Blog

Tools and Technology Only Get You So Far

Hello, Ello.

Ello calls itself “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network.” It wants to be the anti-Facebook. It’s invitation only (for now). It’s hip. It’s getting a lot of buzz.

This post isn’t about Ello.

FOMO (fear of missing out) doesn’t have to be a thing.

We mustn't let all this technology run our lives"

Vocus* just released an e-book by Brian Solis with terrific illustrations by Hugh MacLeod (aka, gapingvoid). It’s a quick read. It doesn’t say anything revolutionary–but it says things we need to be reminded of. A lot.

It asks the question: what if PR stood for people and relationships?

The book warns:

“Shiny objects may seem like they can do everything you needed or never knew you needed. And, in the grand scheme of things, they can also do nothing for you or anyone else.”

It’s not about the shiny objects.

Big organization. Small business. The advice is always the same. You have to be on social media. You must be listening to customers. You need to pump out content. Engage, engage, engage.


But, as the e-book points out, none of this matters if you forget to put these customers, employees, prospects first. It’s about people.

"people don't like being mistaken for pink slime"

It’s easy to be lazy. Generic LinkedIn invite language. Mass blind-copied emails. Automated “thanks for following” Twitter direct messages. But just because I give you my business card doesn’t mean I want to be added to your list.

People are not data to be sliced and diced and input somewhere.

I’m fine with being a data point—sometimes. I live in Google’s ecosystem. I swim in Twitter’s streams. I dip my toe into Facebook from time to time.

It’s transactional.

Most businesses are not built on transactions.

The ROI of Being Human

You might start with a transaction. Or you may end there. But repeat customers, recommendations, and raving brand evangelists don’t result from transactions. They come from building relationships.

Tools and technology only get you so far.

There’s no question that the tools and technology can help you work smarter and reach out more easily to your friends, co-workers, customers, prospects, and so forth. But you still need to build the connection.

*Marketing and PR software company Vocus provided me with a preview copy of the e-book with no restrictions on whether I wrote about it or what I might say. All illustrations from the e-book are by gapingvoid.

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