Day Eight: Who gets to be a pro?

Today, I had the opportunity to attend the Shoreline Business Conference. The panels and discussions this year all focused on success for one’s business in a digitally-driven environment.

While I didn’t agree with everything each professional said, a lot of good opinions were shared and tips traded. I do plan on further exploring the highlights of the conference, but I need a night to digest the information, and formulate a more thoughtful response. I tend to be quick to sarcasm pre-digestion.

One thing that struck me was, what I thought, a glaring omission. Each speaker seemed so eager to share their online success, and oozed (well-deserved) confidence on the subject. Many rattled off the tools like the ingredients to prosperity. However, I didn’t hear any of them address their customer’s experience. There was a lot of, “we,” going around. We build relationships. We have excellent follow up. We blog and use SEO.

Now to be fair, I couldn’t attend all the panels, but what I heard seemed to be lacking a customer perspective. Have they ever asked the 18 year old who works at their store how they use Facebook? Have they had their mom friend them? Did they get the neighbor to follow them on Twitter? They know what’s worked in the past, but social media is the antithesis of stagnant. How will they know what’s going to work next if they don’t actively experience it themselves? They seemed quick to crack jokes about the obsessive Internet use of youth. I don’t think they’ve considered the perspective that those youths are actually the social media experts. They’re just attempting to play keep-up. The gossipy teens, traveling tweeters, and reviewers with vengeance should be sitting in front of the microphone.

Consider this a prologue. This needs to roll around my head for a bit a longer.

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