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Do The Dumb Things I Gotta Do (They Might Be Giants)

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Memo to Myself: I cannot control what others think01212014-50498_300

Tell me again: why did we think we could?

Maybe you are a fan of They Might Be Giants (TMBG). Maybe you are not. I’ve just stumbled onto a wiki that attempts to decode the (typically) obscure lyrics of the two Johns.

Songs by TMBG should never substitute as sacred texts but, “Put your hand inside the Puppet Head” has something to say to those would begin to organize a community. That’s the task we’re starting this week in our social media marketing class and I’m trying to help us understand the old command and control ways of marketing have fallen by the wayside. By the way, it’s those old command and control notions that led to the monologues that made us think whatever we said was also what people heard. That has actually never been true—people will always hear my words in the context of their lives, which means mostly hearing what they want to hear.

In short, there is no puppet head. In this social media world there are transparent people who write from passion and experience. People who build communities because they want to. People who invite others in—but never force others in (a phrase that is almost nonsense today). What we can do is to assemble a clear picture of the people we want to join our party. And we can have an image of how these people interact, where they show up on the web, how active or inactive they might be in their webby habits. And from that we can begin to sort how our social media contributions might serve them and pull them toward this community we want to build. That’s the task today: Who are these people and what do they need?

By the way, there certainly are social media puppets out there: people without transparency who bark out some corporate message or ideological pap. But the blogosphere is not kind to them, because nobody out here likes being the victim of a drive-by monologue.

01212014-il_570xN.541003235_gktdTransparency gets heard and gets a toe-hold in people’s psyches. We’re shooting for transparency and the credibility it builds.

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Image credits: TMBG via Vimeo, Button via UnrehearsedKickline

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