If you're a social media "enthusiast," (in other words, you likely don't make your living from social media), you've probably faced one of the most common questions of the curious, "Yeah, but can you make money with it?"
In a field full of pundits, how-to books, and a world of a bad economy, social media is too often presented as part of a modern gold rush - a quick and easy way to make a living - today's "get rich quick" gimmick.
Even my favorite social media book, "Crush It," by Gary Vaynerchuk, is accompanied by the unfortunate subtitle, "Why Now is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion." In fact, I very nearly passed on the book because of the usually misleading words, Cash In. As it turned out, one of the lessons of that particular book was that social media isn't a "thing" - it's a strategy.
You don't benefit from social media in and of itself. You benefit from applying social media strategies to achieve your particular goals and ambitions. If you don't know what your ambitions are, or if you don't have a clear image of who you are as an individual, it will be very difficult to find a "productive" purpose for social media. Social media is simultaneously a tool and a means of self expression. I think that's an exciting convergence; it also presents an entirely new challenge that changes and evolves from person to person and cause to cause.
The legions of the curious, though, still far outnumber active users. YouTube viewers far outnumber active members of the community that comments and interacts (which, in turn, is much larger than the active YouTube content creators). Most people, I think, are dabblers in social media.
Case in Point:
Last week, there was a fundraiser for UNICEF, hosted by a couple of top British YouTubers, including Charlie McDonnell (known on YouTube as Charlieissocoollike). The numbers that viewed the 24-hour live streaming show were underwhelming by mainstream media standards (10,000 - 20,000 at any given time) though the funds raised wasn't bad given the viewers (about 20,000 pounds - twice their stated goal). The program was promoted by a number of noted YouTubers on their channels, each of whom contributed shot videos that played at various times throughout the show. The show itself consisted of the two YouTubers, talking, answering questions, interviewing guests, and performing various audience challenges...etc. - you get the idea. Even with it's modest success, it seems to me that the numbers should have been much higher, considering the aggregate subscribers of all of the YouTubers involved.
To both social media and traditional media readers, I pose a question: Using social media tools or traditional media approaches, how would you have embarked on this sort of campaign to create a wider appeal to the YouTube community and beyond?
If you happen to see any of this show, I'd also be curious about your reaction.