You Are the Missing Link
But here's the thing. The business world in general just flat out does not get it (not just the surveying world) . Most are completely dumbfounded by the thought of thousands or millions of people saying whatever they want, when they want to say it and how they want to say it. You've got supposed support networks who ask you to post or comment on anything that you like, yet if that comment happens to link to a resource or product that brings no money to the forum owner, chances are it will be deleted. Chances are, an advertisement will be put in its place. Chances are, if you belong to a forum like this, where your words are censored, you're being put in your place too.
This is how BIG BUSINESSES want you to feel about social media. They want you to be the racecar while they drive you as fast as possible. I have (unfortunately) taken time to attend a few social networking events and webinars which claim to teach the proper ways to do this and that and I'll be the first to tell you that the majority of these functions are complete crap. My goal for attendance was to attempt grappling a few tips that might be applied here on LSU to make surveyor's lives more simple. The fact of the matter is, most of us feel that either our lives are as simple as we could already make them or they are going in so many hectic directions that the just has to be a simpler way. This is how they get you. Nevertheless, when it comes down to it, there is nothing a person can tell you about your own business which you do not already know-and if there is, it is up to you to do the research and find out what that is on your own time. You learn social networking by trial and error and learn best when you just be yourself and avoid the teachings of so-called gurus who want to teach you how to use facebook, provided you give them $199.95 You walk away with nothing. They walk away with your money adding no value to your business. Each of these so-called lecturers will tell you how oh-so-very important it is to control the message. They'll go on and on about how Businesses must be involved so that they can control what is said and censor it if necessary, so that their product or service would not be seen in a bad light. If your product sucks, I want to tell you and the world about how bad it sucks and let my friends know so they don't get burned too.
Yes, I know what you are thinking (and I agree). "Well that's totally stupid." Social Networking is dependent on being viral. You post something and somebody tweets it or re-posts it. You cannot control it. If you tried, you would spend even more time hunting down your own words to delete them and thats just counter productive.
And therein lies the rub. Can they (they being big business) truly control it and how do they plan to do it. Of course, they can. But they need to convince you to let them do it. Probably not on the level that the gurus above are thinking, but Governments can and will block the transmission of thoughts and ideas. Nevertheless, if you consider the fact that we ARE the Government, there still may be a chance to keep the internet and the resources that we need to survive free. But we have to start working on it. Today. Not tomorrow. Today.
In order to do this, surveyors, we need to turn this idea around and change our perspective on how this effects us as business owners. Instead of businesses trying to censor others-their ideas and thoughts; why not get into the mix and deliver your companies message in human terms? In other words, in an easy to understand language...why not use the viral aspects of Land Surveyors United, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and hundreds of other Web 2.0 (and 3.0) services to get YOUR message out. Why not? You don't need to pay huge advertising firms to broadcast your message! After all, who can describe what you do better then you? The platform is here and the process has been simplified for you already. You can both control your company's message and promote it virally right from the comfort of your own profile on LSU. Just update your status a few times a week-write a blog post with visual imagery about your business and what you do as surveyors-make a company video and upload it to the network-start a discussion and share some valuable resources with others. Your company will start to take a whole new direction and your phone will start ringing again. I guarantee it!
A message to gurus and big businesses trying to control the surveying industry: Save us all a lot of trouble and stop trying to control us. You've got a product. Let us help you sell it. Put it out there and let it go free...free as a bird. I promise that not only the industry will prosper, but your businesses will be better off in the future as well. At the end of the day, a surveyor is going to do what he/she is most comfortable with doing and that usually involves a small consensus among peers. Surveyors know what is best for themselves and their families-there is nothing you can convince them of otherwise. Yes, social networking in todays world is very important to business, but the level at which sharing information becomes useful is only relevant to the individual. The missing link is the person and what they feel is worth sharing.