Remember the commercials selling cell phone service that featured the guy wandering all ends of Earth asking the question, “Can you hear me now?” Imagine that inquiry coming at you from all directions, at all times of the day, at a volume that would make Metallica request that you turn it down a notch. Now you have a general idea of what consumers today are hammered with on a daily basis when it comes to messages. Every day, consumers are bombarded by an average of 35,000 different messages. (To put that into perspective, consider this: If each message was a dollar bill in a stack of dollar bills, that stack would be 35,000 bills high.) Imagine how tiresome this must be to the average consumer. So how does one decide what to ignore and what to take in?
There is an endless supply of information from a seemingly infinite number of sources. From TV to radio to billboards to print and back again, it’s a thunderstorm of rain, hail, and messages. Now add in social media, with the The Big Four being Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Now put secondary social platforms Pinterest, Vine, Foursquare, and others into the pot and you have quite a gumbo of communication platforms trying to spice up your life. The sheer number of messages from these platforms alone is enough to drive some people to seek refuge in a remote mountain cabin for a week or 50.
But for those of us not retreating to a secluded high country refuge, how do we decide which bits of information are worth our attention?
I just spent a couple days at Hubspot’s #INBOUND 13 conference, where noise ran free and in abundance like a flock of black birds on their way to points south after Autumn’s arrival. It was a coming together of 5300 folks from 35 countries, all wanting to learn how to “delight” their customers. Which is awesome; I certainly enjoy and strive to delight all people I meet. But I also want to play gardener and sort out the “shit” weeds and spend my time tending to my flowers. And so should you— if you are successful and want to stay that way.
While there, I witnessed a line for a keynote speaker that seemed longer than my 50+ mile commute to work everyday. But while a few thousand folks waited in this über-long line for up to 90 minutes waiting for an impersonal speech, I was nurturing relationships and cutting deals. It seemed more productive to me to close deals and build relationships than stand in line with people who know very little about marketing and selling from a speaker who knows a little about marketing and selling.
Don’t get me wrong. The conference was fantastic, with the most active Twitter user base of any conference/event that I’ve been to so far. While I average 2-3 new Twitter followers a day and up to 10 a day while at a conference, I gained north of 100 in less than 12 hours at #INBOUND13. And every last one of them have a large number of followers, and better still, real content is being shared. Useful content. Awesome content.
So how do you go about receiving as much information as you want about the topics that matter to you? Here’s how I do it:
~Use Twitter lists. I use lists for marketing, cigars, couponing, homeschooling, and other interests.
~Join LinkedIn groups.
~Create private boards on Pinterest that feature the people and the information you find appealing.
~Use hashtags to discover conversations that matter to you.
It’s not easy being your own filter in this day and age of rapid-fire message blitzkriegs but with a little homework and a few lists, you can skip the long lines and get to the cashier that will ring up the content YOU want to take with you.