Choosing to Participate

There are certain principles in social networks that people in business need to understand. Many of these are what I often refer to as “Attack of the Obvious” but there is one in particular that I see intelligent people try to resist.

“You don’t get to choose whether people talk about you or not, but you can choose to be part of the conversation.”

Conversations happen everywhere. Blogs, forums, and social networks represent a small slice of that conversation. Time and time again I hear companies want to “control the message.” But that is so much more challenging now that there are millions of people carrying around video cameras that can instantly post to YouTube.

Rather than focusing on controlling the conversation, move towards shaping the conversation. That only happens when you are participating. Participation isn’t something that you start in a crisis or when things are wonderful. Participation starts in between events when the only reason you want to talk is because you want to talk. Otherwise it feels hollow.