One of the challenges in using social media is thinking social media - looking at everything we do from a perspective that recognizes the myriad of communications tools at our disposal - while at the same time, recognizing the possibilities that these same tools make possible. The commercial world is particularly challenged by this concept.
Why blog? Why vlog? Why Twitter? Why Facebook? Why social media? There's plenty of advice out there - websites, vlogs, blogs and good old fashioned books - and all present lists and step-by-step instructions on how to best use the resources at hand. The how's are pretty much taken care of - the why's really provide the greatest challenge for many individuals and firms that haven't looked closely at the social media landscape.
The legendary Sears Department Store maintained a thick general merchandise catalogue for over a hundred years, only to stop production in 1993, just short of the online retail revolution, and perhaps missing the chance to remake themselves into an Amazon-like retail giant. A new concept - new blood - made online retail possible. In the 80's, it would have been inconceivable to imagine that IBM wouldn't still be a primary force in today's home computer market. Again, new blood was essential in building that industry.
Sears and IBM are still very much around - but perhaps their absence in areas that once would have seemed a perfect fit is a result of corporate arrogance, institutional lethargy - and the inability to take the risks necessary to push forward.
The Future is the Why of social media. For many individuals, refusing to engage in social media technology may eventually relegate them to the peripheral reaches of their chosen profession.