• April 15, 2011
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

The Winter of Our Dis-Content

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It’s a puzzlement. As my business takes wing, I find myself more and more distracted by a conundrum. It’s gotten so bad that, while sitting in a café that was piping in Springsteen’s “Lonesome Day,” what I heard was “Lozem gayn,” as Mel Brooks said in Blazing Saddles. OK, it was late, I was desperately hungry, and the café was McDonald’s, but it should be clear that my head was not in the right place.

The more I work in and around social CRM, the less time I spend working with social CRM. I get paid to put my expertise into words, so I’m banging away at the keyboard all the time—not enough to afford private health insurance, but we’re working on it—while my blog goes silent and my Twitter feed unfed. I’m forced to choose between using the social technology I love and support and supporting myself by writing about how other people use it.

I know what you’re thinking: Zeit nicht meshuggah. There’s no reason to choose one or the other, right? I wish that were so. I’ve only got the two hands. I’m writing this for publication while neglecting all the people who could benefit from my wisdom this very minute. For that matter, I’m writing this while I could be writing for another one of my paying clients. There is simply not enough time in the day for me to share myself properly.

Or is there? After all, the Wicked Witch of the West didn’t do all of her own dirty work—she had those winged monkeys, the hobgoblins, the Jitterbug (from a deleted scene that’s still set up in the final print), and a sweet deal with the opium poppy growers in Oz’s version of the Middle East. Why shouldn’t I? I could do a lot of damage—er, I mean good—by expanding my reach a bit.

The first step is to “like” or “retweet” everything relevant that comes my way. I’ve got a lot of friends in this biz, but not enough of an attention span to read everything they do or say. However, if I merely trust their smarts (a good idea, considering my crowd) and pass them on, I would look good by proximity. Anything with a #CRM or #SCRM hashtag will do; particularly choice bits might be augmented with my own commentary.

Nonetheless, even if I implemented this strategy, I wuld not be able to read a lot of content out there. I suppose I’d also have to hire some loyal minions (interns) to crawl the Web and perhaps some print publications to locate comment fodder for me. Heck, why should I even involve myself with them? They can post stuff in my name and broadcast it via syndication.

Last, why should I (or my minions) go to the trouble of recycling and repurposing all that content? If The Huffington Post can aggregate content from multiple news feeds and blogs, I could do the same with content that’s relevant to me. I’d just set up a site that parses all the interesting things in all the social feeds throughout the world and then repost a more focused and pre-screened version. Why read all that stuff when you can just let me tell you what’s important?

What’s that, you say? All these ideas have been tried and failed, when they weren’t dismissed out of hand before seeing daylight? Social media has grown beyond its feeble beginnings, and users are savvy enough to spot such transparent hucksterism? Hmmph. Well, as I said, I’ve been busy lately. I must have missed it.

Marshall Lager is the managing principal of Third Idea Consulting. Accept no imitations! Contact him at marshall@3rd-idea.com or on Twitter via @Lager. You can even read his blog at www.3rd-idea.com.

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