Recently, I have been following the thread of an interesting article posted on BizNik by Miles Austin. He calls the process of commenting on group discussions,web articles, blogs and the like as leaving “Footprints in the Sand”. The reason for his title lies in the continuous washing away of such comments and blog postings by the sheer volume of internet commentary and the difficulty of making a footprint which will be visible for more than a few hours. Yet, we are all urged by the social media gurus to participate in this dialogue in order to build awareness and respect for our businesses. Does it work? Is all the time it requires worth it? Does it pay off?

I don’t know if there is a definitive answer to this issue. I have certainly heard of successful examples where participating in social media has paid off but, in a seemingly greater number of cases, I have heard of failure…….either because the commentator got tired of continuing to write with little apparent return or simply because there there really weren’t any leads or sales or even inquiries after months of diligent postings.

My suspicion is that the answer largely depends on the nature of one’s business. If one is engaging in e-commerce with fairly low priced products or services for sale, I can see it succeeding. Conversely, for the businessman with but a few clients at a time who is not seeking multi-transactions, it may be too time consuming or even irrelevant to continue the effort.

Your thoughts? Post your comment at


About Wilder Baker

Retired advertising agency CEO now active as management consultant with focus on marketing and marketing communications. Work with small companies and business owners to develop their business over the long term. My relationship with clients often evolves into that of trusted personal, as well as business, adviser. I also take short term projects as I can be helpful. I serve on the Board of the American Advertising Federation where I am a past Chairman and am a Trustee of the Hyde Leadership Charter School in New York City.
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  1. I have written a bit about this topic, which you and your audience may find interesting.

    Collaboration and social networks differ significantly both in purpose and intensity, as your post outlines. I have outlined my thinking on this topic in, Comparing Collaboration and Social Networks:

    With this in mind, it becomes imperative to understand what players in a collaborative network wish to achieve, as outlined in, Understanding Objectives of Players in Collaboration Networks:

    We see often that executives recoil at the term “social media” with visions of unproductive activities on such sites as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, all the while risking the enterprise security and compliance. This topic is addresses in, Connecting for Collaboration via Social Media?:

    We propose a framework for the evolution for content management and delivery in, CASTing Content in Collaboration Networks:

    This item is a bit dated but still relevant. I attended a conference on the Future of Collaboration some 6 months ago, and the primary focus was on the use of social media. I captured my views in, Leveraging Social Networking for Enterprise, but HOW?:

    My best,
    Lokesh Datta
    Twitter: @LDatta

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