How To Develop A Social Media Strategy In A Parable By Robert Bacal
In the beginning, man discovered fire. And it all went pretty well, particularly after Man noticed that sticking a hand in the fire was not a good thing to do.
And then, many years after, Man invented paper.
Companies, fascinated by the sheer wonderfulness of the possibilities had intense conversations about how one could use it.
"Hey, I know", one paper pro said. "Let us send things to each other, and let us call them memos." And so it was written, and written and written.
And another paper expert, for all people having seen paper thought they were paper experts, piped up. "I have a great idea. We can write things on them about our deer hides, and goat's breath sweeteners, and people will buy them, since we can send them to them at home." And so junk mail was born, and the sales gods saw that it was good.
And then the paper expert, who also happened to be involved in international shipping via large canoes said: "I like that home thing, but let's think big. Let's think huge. What if we make boats out of the paper, and on the boats we can write personal notes, and offer free giveaways for our cow dung scented air fresheners, and so we will sell even more all around the world, because we can release the wee boats in all the rivers, and the oceans, and the lakes, so nobody will ever miss out on our bargains."
And so, the operations manager in charge, decided all three ideas were great, because he'd read hundreds of opinions, often written on paper, that told of the coming paper revolution, and that any company not part of the revolution was dead. "Go ye forth and implement."
And so, memos went round and round, and while most read them, some didn't, but all in all it worked out OK, except for the tree worshipers being upset.
And junk mail turned out to be immensely profitable, because, people actually LIKED to get paper things in their boxes at home, and even read them sometimes.
But sadly, the paper boat idea didn't work out that well. They released hundreds of thousands of wee boats, carefully engineered as best one could, to withstand the elements, and other companies, seeing the surge of activity, joined in, and million upon mil ion of wee boats sallied forth.
But nobody bought. Nobody nibbled. Nobody responded.
Perplexed, the company asked around -- asked someone who understood (and happened to be interested in) human behavior. The answer came back:
"Ah. When was the last time you went down to the river to find paper boats? Or the ocean? Or the lake?
So, they ignored him, tied him to a stake, and used that earlier invention, fire, to solve the dissonance.