Friday, July 6, 2012
But after seeing how those have become so pervasive, appearing essential, I read some stuff on marketing, had experts on my radio show, and reluctantly have stuck my toe into marketing's waters. Every few days, I've been posting on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, a nugget from my two latest books: How to Do Life: What they didn't teach you in school, and What's the Big Idea: 39 reinventions for a better America.
Fact is, we're all overwhelmed with content, and if we need some, it's just a Google or Amazon search away. No need to clutter people's lives with my nuggets.
I felt particularly oily when, a week ago, on Twitter, I congratulated a very popular blogger for winning an alumni award. Actually, I feel her work is mediocre. I mentioned her only to help build a "relationship" with her so she'd publish some of my stuff. Ugh.
Also troubling is how much time social media marketing wastes, beyond even the obvious. Here's an example: a widely urged networking tenet is: give before you expect to get. Because that principle is widely known, when a stranger gives me something unsolicited (for example, articles or advice) I think, "He's likely doing that as a small investment that he hopes will yield him bigger rewards later: my time, endorsement, etc."
Fact is, the benefit I derive from that stranger is almost never large enough to be worth my giving that person my most precious possessions: time and my reputation. Yet I usually end up sighing and thinking, "Despite feeling manipulated, I'll be a nice guy and give her/him my time and/or write an Amazon review of her book, whatever, but en toto, I wish this whole networking game went away and that I was left alone."
If I need an article, I can always find a great one on a just-in-time basis with an instant, free, no-obligation Google search. If I need advice, I can ask it of the person I'd most respect on that topic. Those are likely to be of greater value at less obligatory cost than unsolicited "help" from strangers wanting something from me.
I come away wishing the unrealistic: that 95 percent of marketing would go away. So much time on sizzle, not steak. It reallocates so much time away from more productive and/or enjoyable pursuits.
What's the 5%? Here's an example. I feel fine about trying to get my work in juried, curated outlets: For example, if a respected national publication picks out my few kilobytes from the terabytes of material it gets every day, it suggests it's worthy of people's time. Any marketing benefit I derive exceeds the negative effect of adding to the world's information overload. Of course, I'm especially happy when a major publication touts my work unsolicited, which happened, albeit most briefly, this week in the New York Times.
I'm tempted to stop all my marketing efforts other than submitting my best work to major outlets. Let's see, for example, if I can make myself stop posting my self-designated nuggets from my books on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
I'm curious as to what you think of my analysis.