I once had a teacher who was fond of sharing how he was constantly amused by the arrogance of people who thought that they could compete with him because they had some big degree from some big University; and (he noted) that degree was two or three decades old. His point being that in today’s world, technologies, discourses, practices, basic and specialized knowledge are evolving and birthing so fast that if you don’t have healthy practices of coping you place yourself at risk of being not just outcompeted, but also of being unable to take care of your basic needs in life – like retirement and good health care in your later life.
I’m currently practicing what I preach by taking an online interactive course with about 100 or so other people in social media. My initial conversation with myself in the run-up to the course was “I have an MBA dammit! And my experience is marketing. I know enough to figure this out on my own.”
Well thank God I don’t always listen to everything I think. I decided to take this course at the Social Media University, and I am learning so much more about what’s out there and what I can do than I could ever have done on my own. At least not at such low investment of time and energy.
You see the field of marketing is so radically altered by the internet and technology that you will be unable to apply the fundamentals of what you learned at school (even two years ago) because the specific communication landscape is so radically altered. For example, while remaining very important to building your public identity and brand, blogging is no longer newsworthy. There are now internet-spawned organicly growing social channels that are not only continually emerging and evolving, but also creating their own peculiar languages and cultures that you either learn and respect or be excluded, or worse: banished.
Utilizing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, social sharing sites like Flicr (photos) and youTube (videos), social review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, social news sites like the Huffington Post and Digg are essential to anyone hoping to build awareness of, and interest in what they have to say or sell.
And this social phenomenon seems to be changing at an almost a daily rate. Each day I choose to explore, I discover a new execution, phenomenon or application that offers some value by either opening up new possibilities to further my career and business or reduces my cost in doing what I’m already doing. Take Rypple for example which my friend Scott Hilton-Clarke of Inspiration Labs shared with me today. Rypple allows users access to information and opinions about sensitive performance or HR issues that would not otherwise be shared. Or, Bubblecomment which allows you to create a little custom video of yourself within a bubble (like a cartoon) as a way to add a personal touch (and branding) to what you share with the people in your networks.
And this phenomenon applies to every field you can think of, medicine, law, agriculture, architecture, design, investment, real estate, philanthropy etc. Nothing is untouched by the explosion of what we are discovering, creating and making accessible to EVERYONE.
Healthy practices of education and learning are essential to live well in today’s world. You can no longer say you are responsible for causing your future if you’re not continually updating your education in your chosen field.