On ROI and social media

roi

Let’s say you’re single and removed from the dating scene. It’s been a while. You get out from time to time in your own circles, and occasionally meet a prospective special someone for drinks, but on the whole maybe you just don’t care, maybe you don’t think you need to. You’re getting along just fine.

But now it’s catching up to you, you’re feeling lonely. Everyone’s talking about all the fun they’re having, all the crazy parties and quiet romantic evenings. It’s everywhere, on the TV, in the news, and especially online. You feel your livelihood slipping away. And here’s the worst of it: you’re just plain horny. I mean really horny. Jesus. You’ve got to get out there before you go crazy.

So you start hitting up the clubs. This is not your scene but you know, in time, you’ll catch on. All this new lingo to learn, people talk so fast. And they call this music?

But you’re getting it, step by step. That’s the easy part. Now you’re making dates, catching some good shows, picking up checks (or working wiles for free meals, as the case may be).

But on the whole you’re just not getting any tail. What’s going on!?

Here’s the problem: getting tail is all you’re thinking about. You’re dancing/eating/talking with a girl (or guy) and everything you do is a means to an end that gets them in your bed. Skin-deep, everyone can see right through you. Our Lady Transparency only offers her blessings when there’s actually something to show, something to be transparent about.

Sure, we all want to get laid. Our primal drive is ultimately a primary component of our motivation. But there’s more to life than this. You’re only a layer or two of social construct away from straight-up announcing to your date upon first meeting that you want to do them. Right now. “I want to be on you,” as Ron Burgandy would say. So what separates us from the animals?

Now let’s say you’re a business. You want to get into social media, everyone’s talking about it. It makes you money! Money buys you things! And stuff!

(Oh yeah, and it increases the scope and depth of what you can accomplish as a business by helping you refine and grow your service, do more good while doing less harm, make more people happy, make less people disappointed, and through the power of rapid communication and collaboration, make the world a better place.)

So you auto-follow hundreds of thousands of “people” on Twitter, and reel in your fishing net, smiling at your harvest. You’ve built connections! Your auto-response to new followers tells them you’re so glad they of all people have found you. That you want to “get to know them” better. Read my blog! Subscribe to my mailing list! Let me know if there’s anything I can do to … I mean, for you.

But you’re skin-deep. You look desperate. Sure, you’ll see some short-term success, which might lead you to think you’ve got this whole thing figured out. But you’re going to hit a roof unless you’ve got something more to offer than just a desire to make money and the ability to regurgitate what everyone else is doing.

For many business moves, your ROI is the first concern. Should you choose this vendor/material/market over the other, if at all?

But social media, nay, the internet (remember that word?) is a technological extension of people. Plain and simple.

If you’re scrutinizing the ROI on people, you’re going to fail. Nature has ways of self-correcting selfishness.

ROI is a means to an end, not vice-versa.