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Barnes and Nobles - Social Media Non-Section

Social Media A ‘Trend’? Barnes & Nobles Must Think So

I recently visited our local Barnes and Nobles to scan the books and periodicals to see what was new.  I walked around for a moment looking for the section where I could find resources on Social Media.  Most importantly, I was looking for hard copies of “Socialnomics” by Erik Qualman or “Social Media 101″ by Chris Brogan.  These books are strong and would be good to have around physically (as opposed to the audiobook versions I own) as the knowledge in them are divided into many ‘short’ sections and contain tons of knowledge in understanding the social ‘trend’.

Barnes and Nobles - Social Media Non-Section I walked around for the majority of my visit and finally found the books on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media ‘how-to’s.  I was surprised to find these books in the “Trends in Business”.  It made me smirk a bit.  It was as if Barnes and Nobles (in Columbus, Ga) hadn’t begun to understand that this ‘trend’ was more than just another quick sell to build your business or acquire more sales.  It is about adding value, not gimmicks.

As I scanned each of these titles one common phrase connected them all.  “One Hour A Day” seems to be the thread that was built to grab the curious reader or busy business professional.  It failed for me.

An hour a day is a good start.  However, if you are serious about fully impacting your professional or personal social capital, you could find you would need to spend many hours of your day connecting to new people and exuding value into other’s social circles.  When Chris Brogan was asked about how to build a solid network in “Trust Agent’s” he simply answered, “Be helpful.”  He is dead on.

As this is not a new concept, it is sometimes blurred with the hurried feel of following twitter feeds and facebook contests that we can feel overwhelmed.  More reactions come from adding value to others social circles than adding value to yours at every chance.

While Barnes and Nobles has yet to adopt the curriculum required for businesses to understand Social Media instead of trying to bank on quip communication niche ideas, I will continue to get the knowledge from the sources.  I am not assuming the books at Barnes and Nobles are value-less.  I am simply stating that only having a section called “Trends of Business” to harbor social media  knowledge is a slight misnomer and would fend off a Social Media enthusiast.  Even worse, this misinformation could deflect a curious newbie by labeling “Social Media” as the next big niche’ when in fact it’s grip on business is just the tip of the iceberg.

I am sure my town may be a few years behind (in tech-time means centuries) but I expected Barnes and Nobles to be a bit ahead of the selections in my local supermarket.  I suspect as the worldwide recognition of the impact of social sites like facebook, twitter, linkedin grows, we could look forward to a ‘new’ designated area of gaining knowledge of this new frontier instead of reading ‘trendy’ footnotes to quickly inflate a business’s presence online.  For those of us who know, a valuable social network takes time to build and starts with helping one person at a time.

About the Author

I am a husband to a beautiful wife named Whitney and Dad to a wonderful baby boy. Yay! :) Damien Augustus Shaffer has come into this world on March 15th 2010. In my professional life, I have accumulated over 4 years utilizing a wide range of technologies to develop software solutions for my current employer. Most of this time was spent learning methodical approaches within different environments to broaden my programming knowledge and project planning abilities. These environments include both open source and Windows based development, mainly Web. I also dabble in Social Media and it applications in today's culture and marketplace. I consider it a hobby but some may say its an obsession. ;) I enjoy it immensely.
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  • Alan

    I agree with Barnes and Noble. I think these sites ARE trends and that they will not last. People are way too obsessed with them in my opinion. The fact is everyone cannot read everyone else’s diary and “deep thoughts” of the day, and honestly these sites often boil down to everyone selling something, that thing being themselves when it is not a product of service. I think over time people are going to awake to this realization – that social networking is too often everyone talking at once and nobody really listening. And any social site that takes off will eventually become dominated by famous people or companies that don’t need more exposure in the first place – meaning just another place where the same “product” is marketed. It happened to myspace, and it’s happening to facebook and twitter (ex. does Sarah Palin really need these sites to make her opinion heard? – No, but it’s free and it gives her more attention to sell books).

    • http://www.lucaslshaffer.com Lucas Shaffer

      While I agree the social sites are self-serving, there are a core sampling of the users who are content with their expectations. I am extremely excited our online communities are growing and with more voices come more decisions; some right and some wrong.

      I believe the underlying behavior of the “social” society is about gaining knowledge. And just like in any society you have solicitors, pundits, “experts”, snake-oil salesmen all surrounding the truly remarkable citizens who have knowledge to share.

      I see in my personal life how the “obsession” to reproduce knowledge has hampered others to lose value. It is the way we choose to use the “social” climate that governs whether you opinion is shared among the masses.

      Thanks for the insightful post Alan! I would enjoy further discussion! :)

  • Alan

    I agree with Barnes and Noble. I think these sites ARE trends and that they will not last. People are way too obsessed with them in my opinion. The fact is everyone cannot read everyone else’s diary and “deep thoughts” of the day, and honestly these sites often boil down to everyone selling something, that thing being themselves when it is not a product of service. I think over time people are going to awake to this realization – that social networking is too often everyone talking at once and nobody really listening. And any social site that takes off will eventually become dominated by famous people or companies that don’t need more exposure in the first place – meaning just another place where the same “product” is marketed. It happened to myspace, and it’s happening to facebook and twitter (ex. does Sarah Palin really need these sites to make her opinion heard? – No, but it’s free and it gives her more attention to sell books).

    • http://www.lucaslshaffer.com Lucas Shaffer

      While I agree the social sites are self-serving, there are a core sampling of the users who are content with their expectations. I am extremely excited our online communities are growing and with more voices come more decisions; some right and some wrong.

      I believe the underlying behavior of the “social” society is about gaining knowledge. And just like in any society you have solicitors, pundits, “experts”, snake-oil salesmen all surrounding the truly remarkable citizens who have knowledge to share.

      I see in my personal life how the “obsession” to reproduce knowledge has hampered others to lose value. It is the way we choose to use the “social” climate that governs whether you opinion is shared among the masses.

      Thanks for the insightful post Alan! I would enjoy further discussion! :)