So someone asks you: "What's your Twitter name?" and you look at them like they are a loony. Twitter? Huh?
And then the next person asks you, "You blog, right? What's the URL?"
Hold it. What happened? In the seeming blink of an eye, suddenly there's all this new so-called 'social media' on the web, and you know nothing about it.
What's worse, is that everyone else seems to be there already. It's like you went to the bathroom, and when you came out, the party moved on, leaving you in a dark room with empty glasses all around you.
Time to drop everything and catch up with the party... quickly! Quickly!
And let's say you catch up with the party...
You've got your blog, your Twitter name, and all of those things. And no matter how fast you run with it all, it doesn't seem to be making much of a difference.
The world IS moving, you can't safely ignore it. And yet chasing after it isn't working. What to do?
Innovation is a no-no.
There is a teaching in Sufism that speaks against innovation. Well, not all innovation, and only in certain circumstances.
This is sometimes where people get the idea that Islam is anti-science or anti-progress. Not true.
In the twelth century, during Europe's 'dark ages,' Islamic culture had some of the most advanced universities, scientists, and doctors in the world, at the very cutting edge of modern technology. The problem with innovation is that it can feed on itself.
Innovation is forbidden when it becomes a false idol.
We've come to think about technology as 'computers' or 'science.' But, the word 'technology comes from the Greek 'tekhnologia' meaning, an interest in an 'art or craft' (Oxford American Dictionaries) .
The problem comes when someone studies technology for its own sake. For our personalities, our egos, the lure of 'newness' is strong. New sensations and learnings can encompass all of our attention, immerse us in the experience.
This can be a good, because immersion is a great way to learn. The problem with something like all the innovation happening in web technology, is that there is no defined 'end' point. There is no way to tell externally when you've done enough.
If you get caught in this loop, you can emerge months or years later, having totally lost track of the path you are on.
The irony is- people want connection.
The irony of web-based social media like blogs and Twitter is that it's coming out of the deeper hunger to connect to community, to love, to Source. Yet all of this innovation in the internet can leave you exhausted and isolated- even if you're good at it and like it.
As you may already know, that connection you're yearning for is in your heart, not Twitter. It's in the hearts of other people, not in the technology. If you forget that, you'll be lost. By remembering your true intention, then technology can be useful to you.
So do I blog and Twitter, or not?
Well, I'll give you a definitive answer: it depends. :) It depends on your business, and the hearts of the people you are trying to reach.
If you work with younger adults or teens, or with engineers or gadget geeks, then yes, you're going to want to meet them where they are, which is usually on the cutting edge of the latest toys.
If you don't, it may not be as critical. And, even if you suspect that a good portion of your audience is found in the 'blogosphere' as it's sometimes called, there's still no need to be so urgent about it.
How do you proceed? Well, take breath, connect to your heart, and let's take a look.
Keys to Technology
* Your current website and newsletter is not obsolete!
Don't panic and discard what you've got now. Just because all of this new stuff is out there doesn't mean what you already have isn't perfect for what you're doing. My bicycle is more than fifteen years old, and it gets me around just fine. And, if you haven't even gotten your website done yet, it's still more than worthwhile to finish.
* You don't need the latest, just adequate.
Unless your business is about social media and cutting-edge web technology, in which case you probably aren't even reading this article (hiya!), then forget about Twitter, Pownce, Digg, Stumble-Upon, del.icio.us for right now. You don't need anything but entry-level basic. Just start reading some blogs, without being in a rush. Here's a few to start with:
Heart of Business (my own)
* Set a 1-3 month 'safe zone' of learning.
As you begin to learn, tell yourself that you don't have to do anything about it for one to three months, that you are just going to learn. It will work even better if you find a friend or colleague who can give you an hour or three for a personal guided tour of this stuff.
This approach doesn't just apply to blogs, but it applies to most anything new you need to learn about your business. And, once you understand the basics, the more obscure pieces will come MUCH more quickly.
You might actually find yourself enjoying the technology. :)
With blogs and other social media, remember that technology is just a tool, and that the craft you are studying is not blogs. You are involved with the craft of connection, and you're just learning a new tool to do what you already know something about.
Don't let gurus rush you. Take a breath, and dip in. You may find that all of this innovation and technology can actually improve your connection to what you care about most.
The best to you and your business.
About The Author
Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without losing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online: www.heartofbusiness.com