Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Wisdom of Cab Drivers

Yesterday, I attended Social Media Club’sStarting the Conversation” workshop in Palo Alto.  My mission was to identify best practices as I help to expand our social media communications strategy at EarthLink.  I also had an opportunity to speak with Brian Solis, Jeremiah Owyang and Giovanni Rodriguez who were all very helpful. 

As expected, the day focused on transparency, trust, successes and failures. 

I was struck by a discussion with Shel Israel about the power of conversations.  When making purchasing decisions, would you rather hear from an ad or actual customers?  In the world of social media, the conversation is taking an increasingly prominent role.  We are looking to the person on the street, not the expert, for our source of information.  

The so-called wisdom of crowds is social media’s mantra.
When in Germany for example, Shel Israel was looking for a particular restaurant that he had read about.  The cab driver told him that the chef had left and all those in the know were going to a new restaurant where the chef was now working.  He never would have known if he hadn’t engaged in a conversation.

Across the blogosphere, countless conversations are taking place that are redefining authority and shaping marketing strategies.

On the other hand, I am reminded of the adage: “When taxi drivers are handing out stock tips, it’s time to sell.”   That is not to say that seasoned financial analysts can’t make mistakes.  My dot com stock portfolio is testimony to that.  But as with anything else, we need to be discerning and always consider the source.  It may be the only way to survive the wealth (glut) of information that the blogosphere offers.

Let me get back to you

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Posted by Dan Greenfield in 13:47:13 | Permalink | Comments (2)