I am talking to you, and you are standing in front of me. You’re looking straight at me, and my eyes are not moving at all. I’m looking straight at you as well. I know everything about you, because you’re my friend and you’re my colleague. I know exactly what to say in order for you to listen. That’s the perfect situation.
The problem is that many people are talking like they’re inside a forest, they’re not all alone, but they don’t know who are behind the trees.
I am talking to you
You’re just one person. And even if I didn’t know you, I would say that it’s fairly easy to talk to you, because you’re just one person. I just need to understand who you are, and what you want to know. Then, only then, will I tell you what you want to know in a language that suits you.
It’s not that hard.
I am not just talking to you anymore
You brought a friend, and I’m talking to both of you. It’s still fairly easy to talk to you, because you’re only two people. It’s harder than one, but still, it’s fairly easy. I just need to know a little about you, then tell you what you want to hear, and use a language that suits you.
It’s not that hard.
Wow, I am talking to a crowd
Now, it’s getting difficult. You brought a crowd. The more people, the harder it becomes. If I’m at a stage giving a speech at a seminar, I won’t know exactly who everyone in the crowd is. But I probably know a few, and I know the type of people (and their interests). That’s because you hired me, and you told me what they want me to talk about.
What I do is that I focus on the few people I know. I talk to them, and I use the language that suits them. Hopefully I’m right, most of the people in the crowd are like the people I know.
Listen, I am talking to everybody
It used to be fairly easy, know who you’re talking to. But now, at least for many people, it looks as if it’s almost impossible to do the right thing.
To understand what I am trying to say, you need to read one of my favorite quotes on social media:
Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.
It might be a slight exaggeration, but there are some truth to it.
The problem is that sometimes you feel that you’re talking to a few friends, and what you’re doing is actually talking to hundreds of people you don’t know (that’s especially true when it comes to Facebook). Your so-called friends might all be looking at your message in a different way.
I know for a fact that you have more online friends than offline, and that you have many “friends” who you didn’t know were reading the things you write. We all have.
What do you think will happen if you post a status update on Facebook that you are frustrated at work and that you had a terrible day?
Do you think that your co-workers, your boss, your family, your friends, your classmates, your neighbor, your competitors, will all have the same opinion on the status update?
What if your grandfather died, would you update your status with this information? If you do, what will people think? You don’t know, because you have no idea who you’re talking to.
Your message should always be targeted, no matter if it’s business or pleasure.
There is one solution
I believe that there is only one solution to this dilemma. Always know who you are talking to, that’s the solution. Know your audience, and target them by topic. That’s the easiest part. And that’s how most of us are using Twitter and blogging.
When it comes to Facebook, you have two options. You can either stop publishing status updates, or you can publish generic status updates that won’t be of interest to anybody, or you should start to use a filter. With a filter, your status updates will only be visible to people you think should be able to see them.
In the end, you should be marketing like Dr Phil, he knows exactly who he is talking to. Now, get out of the forest, or at least look behind the trees before you start talking.
You should also read: Facebook Status Updates