The other day Seth Godin posted a blog entitled 'Notice me', where he dispiritingly described the new online mantra. Without a doubt, there are people out there shouting and doing exactly that, but that's what insecure people and corporates do, they sadly focus on 'me-me' at the expense of everything else.
It doesn't always have to be that way though, nor do we all think like that.
I was much cheered and heartened by a number of other things that were completely opposite to that approach recently.
Yesterday evening, I was reading one of my favourite Friendfeeders blog on Facebook during a lull in the football. Morgan Brown, writes a cool blog about online marketing that I read and follow regularly. It isn't mainstream or pharma, but it's fun to read and informative, so I learn tons of new stuff and get smarter in the process. Most importantly, Morgan is real, he writes from the hip about his thoughts and observations, these in turn challenge my own ideas and concepts. It's called influence.
In this case, he disagreed with Godin and noted that 'it's not about me, it's all about we' after attending BlogWorld recently and meeting a lot of other Friendfeeders we have both interacted with. That's largely been my experience of Friendfeed (scientists and tech people sharing tips, papers, ideas etc) and Twitter (pharma and biotech people) sharing links, ideas and RT each others links to share with their respective networks. This is how knowledge is transferred and shared with others and conversations strike up, then impromptu tweetups occur (like the #DigiPharma one tonight or meeting @blogaceutics and his lovely wife while they were in town after travelling all the way from Barcelona) around meetings and scientific conferences. It was also a great experience meeting scientists, medics and others at cancer conferences this year (@hoatlinlab, @mfenner, @drsteventucker, @leonardkish, @cells_nnm and others).
When people start engaging and interacting online and offline, magical things start to happen.
The forthcoming FDA open town hall (#fdasm) for debating the role of social media in Pharma is a case in point. It isn't about who gets to go and who doesn't, far from it. It's about making sure some of us interested in Pharma on Twitter do go (eg @heldincontempt and @bradatpharma) and some get to present (@skypen, @pharmaguy and @jonmrich) and crowd source ideas for their presentations much as John Mack has done with his poll about what we see as the issues for the FDA to address and he will then present the results of that poll at the meeting.
That's what sharing and engaging is all about, sharing ideas and information willingly, leading from the front and setting a good example for others. New technologies and social media can be a wonderful tool for finding new people, new blogs, new ideas and plenty of spirited exchange. Fresh inspiration from others can set off a new creative spark and stimulate new content and more sharing, and so on ad infinitum.
Many people are uncomfortable by challenge and getting out of their comfort zone, but the new world of real time and more mobile technology is gradually changing that and the levels of thoughtful engagement too, largely for the better.
Sometimes it really is about 'we' and not 'me-me'.