Treadmill or the Train…

Photo Courtesy: Ducatirider on Flickr

No, this post has nothing to do with fitness and traveling.

It is about the confusion that occurs when you copy something blindly.

I will take the social media example.

There is a tendency here to follow what the most successful people are doing.

The general assumptions people make to convince themselves to copy are:

  • If it is “working” for them, it must be right
  • If it is “working” for them, it must “work” for me.
  • If it is “working” for them, all I have to do is follow their footsteps to make it “work” for me.

What people generally forget to do is to observe “how is it working for them.

You can look at their actions and the consequences of those actions on social media but that is still a tip of the iceberg. This has to translate somewhere into their revenue. This has to provide a “return on investment” somewhere for their time. Otherwise, it’s simply not sustainable. Unless you see how they get their ROI from their efforts, you may have no way to determine whether their strategies are applicable to you.

If you blindly follow someone’s strategies however attractive they seem, you are running on a treadmill and hope to reach a wonderful destination. You will get tired after a while and it seems like a ton of work, but you won’t make progress.

If you want to head towards “your” destination, you need to come up with your strategies. Strategies that work for you. The way “popular” people use social media may not be it.

You are on a “train” to your destination only when you start using strategies that work for you.

There is no need to force-fit something that may seem to work. There is enough that you can learn from everyone around you. They are doing something right – yes, right for them. Something that will take them to “their” destination.

If you really want to get the most out of social media without breaking your back and without breaking your bank (remember: time is money) then I suggest you

  1. First look at who has reached the kind of “destination” you are looking to reach.
  2. Once you identify those people, observe what they are doing. What are their strategies and what are their actions on social media.
  3. Lastly, improvise and innovate based on your learning.

In summary, just don’t confuse being on a treadmill to traveling on a train.