|Swimming Upstream|v2.0|

|Everything and Nothing|


There’s a lot to be said about those who can speak in front of a crowd. I’m okay in small groups; motivating a team, speaking to a boardroom or simply talking in front of friends and family, but a crowd. Can’t say I’ve ever been that comfortable with it. I would compare it to the sudden frisking from a airport official – who I can assure you, doesn’t buy you a drink before giving you the jangle of your worst nightmares.

Recently I was given the opportunity to speak, that’s right, speak to a group of eager digital marketing students at what is now known as the WTF Media Conference (originally called the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Conference as it was spread over 3 days). Things have changed this year and the setup for the 2011 WTF Media Conference will be done in a TED-like speakers panel, giving each speaker between 5 and 15 minutes to speak about one of two key insights into their chosen industry, field or experience. Now, anyone who’s anyone has watched a TED-Talk at least once in their lives and what you’ll notice is that…well, they can all speak really well. Me…not so well. Well, I can write, eloquently, sort of, but talk…

Crisis: Engaged.

WTF Media Conference

So, we have three problems Houston:

  1. I don’t speak well in front of people
  2. I don’t speak well in front of people, and
  3. What would I say?

Speaking about my industry conjures up both feelings of passion and cynicism.

Passion because currently, I’m doing what I love, every day. Be able to use tools to market incredible brands in some of the most innovative way possible on a daily basis truly brings out the best in me. I love working with creative people. Creativity is part of who I am and even though I’ve left my Photoshop brushes behind, being able to enthuse people through understanding a brand’s messaging, products and marketing strategy conjures up more personal creativity than I even thought possible.

Cynicism because, well, let’s face it…social media isn’t the most respected career path known to man. It’s not rocket science, even though sometimes navigating some of the Promotional Guidelines and Terms of Use on Facebook can seem like you’re attempting to launch your own version of Sputnik with little more than a paperclip and chewing gum, but the fact of the matter is, it isn’t as cut and dry as everyone make it out to be. There is more to the “Days of Our Lives of a Social Media Community Manager” than glorified Public Relations and putting out fires. Listening and understanding what your community needs is far more important that simply marketing nonsense to them on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis.

The point I’m trying to make here is that, without even trying I managed to drum up a piece for my talk this Friday. Speaking from the heart and speaking from experience about “The Truth About Social Media” I hope will give those either considering going into the field or those wanting to work in digital advertising a swift kick in the face with regards to what happens when you naively think that Social Media will fall smoothly into your marketing strategy and if you have a Facebook Account you can just as easily implement a Social Media campaign. There’s more to it, trust me.

Hopefully some of my reader from Cape Town will wash off their Phuza Faces and come on down to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology at around 08h30 or so to listen to me while I do my best to be as honest and forth-coming about one of the fastest growing and controversial industries in marketing.

Errmmm...my thoughts exactly!

PS: This is not an industry related Blog post.

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2011 by in David Alves, Social Media and tagged , , , , , .
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