If a Tree Falls in a Forest

We often hear buzz phrases about social media such as, “The right content, on the right platform, at the right time, to the right audience,” and I am also guilty of using such mottos. 

Recently however, a question keeps coming to mind—what really is the power of social media, or the need for it thereafter? And, what is social media not appropriate for? Coming from a career in marketing, with two stints specifically in digital strategy and social media, I’ve spent a lot of time creating social media content for brands, or working to come up with innovative uses of social media for them.

This question has been of interest particularly after encountering a few very empowering brands and life coaches, and then simultaneously being struck by their meticulously crafted social profiles on Facebook and Twitter. (To be clear, this is by no means true of all coaches who use social media, but for right now, we’ll call these “celebrity coaches”.)

There is significant reasoning behind this and the power of building a strong presence with a large and engaged following. It can help to grow business and can build thought leadership and authority. Content creation is powerful, that is not the question at hand. Where is the line drawn between over self-promotion and wise use of the medium? 

Anchor & Leap could be promoted like this, and very well may be in the future. In many ways it would be useful for spreading the content, increasing site traffic, and building the large audience I eventually want this platform to reach. It is a balance; being humble and promoting one's work. 

But social media has the potential to dilute the level of authenticity that many brands and organizations were created upon and created to represent. How does a brand promote itself without dismissing it's core mission? For Anchor & Leap, it is the mission of promoting curiosity and there is a raw element to that. Anchor & Leap may one day largely embrace social media. We must question and challenge all things we once believed to be true. 

So, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, right now, I say yes, indeed it does. Audience does not validate existence, though audience can help grow it's impact.  

Posted on December 30, 2014 .