3.17.2009

Do you have a social media mentor?

I haven't updated my blog in over a month, but gearing up to launch our newly redesigned intranet, wedding showers, weddings, home improvements, etc. has kept me so busy the last month I really haven't had the inspiration or time to update.

I was sitting around tonight trying to think of something to blog about and decided to share a flattering experience I had recently. There is an older gentleman who works in my department, (and I'm not going to dare guess his age, but let's just guess that he can retire if he chooses from our company in the next five to ten years) and he sent me an email the other day and asked if I had thirty minutes to spare to explain social media to him and where I saw it going, especially related to our business. He had just completed reading the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott and was excited with the mention of social media in today's communications landscape.

We set aside some time and had a good lengthy chat about social media sites and I shared some case studies I had heard about of how large organizations (Midol) missed the mark engaging with social media and how others (Ford, Dell, etc.) had made great strides in reputation and engagement using social media. We discussed how social media could play a role in large initiatives affecting our company and our industry, and how our company could potentially take advantage. It was a high-level discussion, but I really enjoyed bouncing ideas back and forth with him. It was great to talk to someone about social media who was as open minded and excited about the prospects - especially someone two generations away from me. We agreed to continue to brainstorm from time to time and share ideas as we come across them. He reads A LOT, so I recommended Shel Holtz's Tactical Transparency for him to read as well.

The next day I received a hand written note from him, thanking me for taking the time to talk social media with him. He's asked that I be his 'social media mentor'. What a novel idea. A social media mentor. Often when we think of mentors, we think of an older generation mentoring the younger generations -- but doesn't it make sense for a millennial to mentor a baby boomer on technology and social media? I think it's such a great idea - both parties involved can learn so much. I am constantly looking for ways to educate on the idea of using social media for reaching out to customers, and I have looked for opportunities to share case studies of other companies in similar industries who have had success with social media. What better channel than someone who has been with the company for 20+ years, who has relationships with senior leadership that I'll never come close to having, and who might help influence changes towards engaging (both internally and externally) with social media.

So if you're a millennial who can't imagine your life without social media and sees its potential for business, consider mentoring someone in your company who might not get social media or is just starting to dip their toes in it. With your powers combined, you might be surprised with what you can come up with together - and the influence that the mentoring might have on future decisions around social media in your company -- we've just started, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

After receiving his handwritten thank you, which he noted was appropriate for his generation, I sent him an instant message, thanking him for the note. :)

Related but unrelated:
Interesting descriptions of different generations in today's workforce. I fit the Gen Y (or millennial) description to a T.

I did a google search for 'social media mentor' and found nothing really related...only consultant type services.

5 comments:

lifeinbetween said...

Interesting idea. Strangely, my social media mentors have all come from IT side b/c they adopted so early. Now find myself gravitating towards people using more in communications ways. I think I probably have 2-3 current social media mentors!

Meredith said...

I'm so proud :)

Keith said...

Appropriately enough, my social media mentor pointed me to this blog.
A short while ago she asked me to be her mentor - I think this request was partly inspired by my impressive collection of grey hairs. Since then, most of the questions have been about web2.0 and Twitter, but it's me who's asking.

Keela said...

I do. She sits two cubes over from me, and she's very sharp and teaches me so much!

And isn't our coworker the coolest? I wish there were 10 more of him in the department!

Mark Mayhew said...

good post, I don't care for most self-proclaimed "social media experts" but actual social media mentoring seems cool.