Learn About Social Media Through Pictures on Pinterest!

If you would like to learn a lot more about social media by simply looking at pictures instead of reading boring blog posts, I can tell you how to do it … but first you have to get to the end of this boring blog post (hint: or just skip right to the bottom if you want!). Let me explain what I am talking about …

A few weeks ago I joined the ranks of those who have become obsessed with Pinterest. We can thank my wife for that as she was the “early adopter” in our family, as well as our daughter Clara (but that is a whole ‘nuther post).

According to Pinterest’s About page,

“Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. . . . Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.”

If that doesn’t tell you enough just go have a look for yourself by clicking HERE! You will need an invite to Pinterest and you can request one HERE — or send me an email and I’ll be happy to invite you. Simply put, Pinterest is a bunch of pictures. That’s it. Pictures of everything you can imagine. It is the world displayed visually through pictures.

Shortly after I began using Pinterest I began exchanging ideas about it with Jay Pinkert, a well respected legal marketer (among other things), who manages Shatterbox Marketing & Communications, and we talked about whether there were ways that professionals such as lawyers could use Pinterest for marketing purposes. At that time all I could envision doing with Pinterest was (a) using it for fun and (b) using it to help develop relationships with other people which is, after all, the foundation of social media. I really did not see any substantive value, however, for a lawyer such as myself who focuses on issues like social media law, technology law, and computer fraud beyond the fact that I need to have an in depth understanding of these social media services to best enable me to advise my clients about the legal issues involved with using them.

Then an epiphany hit me!

Earlier this morning I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Social Media Breakfast Dallas where I met many others who are also passionate about social media. I found myself in a conversation with two new friends, Tonya Delano and Jackie Bese and you will never believe what I learned: they were into Pinterest also, as well as virtually everyone else I talked with! In fact, Tonya has even recently blogged about Pinterest: Like I need another social media addiction! 

Talking with them about it got me to thinking that, with that many “social media types” interested in Pinterest there had to be some interesting social media graphics on there because the “social media types” are generally very graphic-oriented people. Forgive the stereotype but you know I’m right about this one, and that’s a plus!

So, I decided to spend some time on Pinterest this evening and was amazed with all of the “infographics” (pictures to most of us) that I found. Seriously, take a look at the picture to the right that is on Pinterest but originally came from a blog post titled Social Media Marketing — 10 Inspiring Infographics written by Jeff Bullas. This is just one example of the tons of other infographics you can find there.

The more I thought about it, the more I reflected back to the discussion Jay and I had and I realized that information such as this may be of interest to people I connect with on social media and is also related to the social media law aspect of my practice. So, I spent about half an hour looking at these amazing and informative pictures and “pinned” as many as I could on social media and put it in a “board” called “social media” that you really need to go check out right HERE.

There is some very helpful information about social media that you can learn just from looking at these really awesome pictures and it is a heck of a lot more fun than reading boring blog posts like this one. So, here you go, if you want to learn a lot about social media just from looking at pictures, Pinterest is the place to go and my social media board is the perfect place to start.

Have fun pinning and let me know what you think about whether there is any real value in using Pinterest for something like this, or, if you just think I’m being goofy (p.s., kiddos, this is not a license to criticize dad).

Grandpaw’s Lessons: My New Blog Series

I have decided to start a blog series called “Grandpaw’s Lessons”. The general purpose of this series will be to share many of the lessons that my grandfather taught me as well as how, throughout my life, I always seem to be getting reminded of them—sometimes in a good way, sometimes not! (depending upon whether I learned the lesson)

In an odd sort of way this series has been in the works for many years though I have only thought about writing it for the last week or so. How’s that for nonsense? What I mean is that I remember sitting in the pew at Grandpaw’s funeral and fondly reminiscing about the wonderful life he lived, how he had such a powerful impact on my life, and the many lessons he taught me about life even though I had no idea (or appreciation) that he was doing so at the time. Sitting in that pew I thought it would be a really nice tribute to my grandfather’s life, as well as a benefit to others with whom I shared those lessons, and I began thinking about writing a book with the daily lesson from Grandpaw. Well, that was a few years ago. Given how busy my life is and how many books I have planned to write … but haven’t … guess what? The book remains unwritten though it is the seed of this series. This is for you Grandpaw (Edward Tuma, Sr.).

A few weeks ago I tip-toed into the world of blogging. In my first blog, What I Learned In My First Week Using Social Media, I said:

And I know there is still lots more to learn but if there is one thing that I can say sticks out more than anything else it is this: if you want to effectively use social media for business, do your best to try and be a good genuine person who is honest, uses good old fashioned manners, and shows basic respect for others.”

When I wrote those words I was reminded of the source of what I was saying as I said it: Grandpaw. That was the way Grandpaw lived every aspect of his life, including how he managed his business. Grandpaw had an automobile body shop and never became a rich man though he helped quite a few people when they found themselves in a position of needing help and there were no others around the help. Everyone around Grandpaw always told him he was being foolish because others were taking advantage of him and cheating him but Grandpaw didn’t care because his was a life governed by core principle—true core principles. One that I’ll always remember him saying over and over in response to such criticism from others was, “at least I can sleep at night”. That was Grandpaw’s way of saying “I’m doing what is right regardless of the outcome.” Just imagine if most in our world lived by that standard today …

To those observing (and critiquing) Grandpaw’s life, they would have told you that he could have made more money but when people couldn’t afford to pay, were down on their luck, or just had a really good good sob story for him (and he could see through it), he let them pay whatever they could. Even if it was nothing. That is, Grandpaw gave away a lot for free. If you saw my most recent blog, “I’m a No0b” you know this is one of the things I’ve recently learned about successful social media marketing. Funny thing is, Grandpaw taught me this lesson through example many decades ago. That is how this process has gone. Time and time again over the past few weeks I have these “new” strategies for social media marketing only to sit back and think for a moment and realize that this “new” strategy is no different than the “old way” that Grandpaw taught me. That was the fertilizer.

Last week I read Seth Godin’s blog entitled The New Craftsmanship and that one hit me square in the face—that was even the word that Grandpaw always used to describe himself—craftsman. That moved me so much that I started a draft blog about it that will be forthcoming, perhaps, in a day or two (depending on how much family time I am willing to sacrifice for this project!). That was the soil.

Yesterday, I was reading Ingrid Abboud’s Bring IT! series on her nittyGriddyBlog and really like the way that she uses that and the SuperPost Sunday series in her work. It seems pretty effective to have a themed series. That pushed me a little closer; I continued to think through the idea of doing a series about the lessons that Grandpaw taught me. That was the water.

Then, just this morning, I got up and read a few of the comments on my Facebook status from yesterday:

planting flowers with the family! i love spring! (and it is to me so hush up — don’t care if its still feb!)”

To this, Rob Wieters mentioned that, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it was still too early to plant. To which I responded that my grandfather had always read the Almanac and, more often than not, it was right. That comment prompted Carol Watts, a family friend who knew my grandfather, to say what a good man he was. That was it—the sunlight that made me say “I’m going to do it, I’m going to begin blogging a series of lessons from Grandpaw!”

I hope you will enjoy reading the blog posts as much as I will enjoy writing them. Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering about the coffee cup, well, many of my favorite conversations with Grandpaw took place early in the morning before anyone else was awake, sitting at the kitchen table while enjoying a cup of coffee. The cup in the picture was the cup I always used at Grandpaw’s house. Because it is very special to me, I now only use it on special occasions … such as this morning. I miss you Grandpaw but I sure appreciate all of the wisdom you shared with me over the years and know you too would have enjoyed sharing it with others as well. Welcome to the world of blogging Gramps!

Why Would A Lawyer Waste Time Studying Social Media?

Because I don’t want to look like an idiot!

(How’s that for getting straight to the point?)

I really do hope that someone out there will actually read my blog. When that actually does happen (that’s right, I am believing with faith), I suspect that the first question they will ask after seeing my posts about using social media is “why on earth would Shawn waste so much of his otherwise billable time learning about how to use social media?” And that is a valid question because I am a lawyer, not a professional blogger. So, before I write my next blog about … you guessed it: what I have learned this week about using social media, I decided to go ahead and preempt the inevitable question by answering it now. Because my professional life is driven by serving my clients, they are the ones I really have to answer to so I am writing this as though I am responding to a loyal client–though certainly no one in particular.

1. Social Media Is The Future: One of Us Needs to Understand It

First, I am firmly convinced that within the next couple of years social media is going to change the way business operates as much as did the use of e-mail, the fax machine, the mimeograph (haha–a copier dummy–you remember the ones from elementary school back in the 70s where you used to love to sniff the purple-bluish ink?), carbon paper, the telephone, the telegraph, and of course, the courier pigeon! You don’t believe me? Well just this past week I read an article entitled Email Use Plummets Among Teens (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/08/email-use-teens_n_820121.html) in which it was reported that e-mail use dropped 59% among 12 to 17-year-old age group and, for the 18 to 54 year-old group e-mail use is declining in favor of the use of social media for communications. Those teenagers who are driving you crazy now are your future customers and my future clients and my guess is they are not going to be exchanging many fax communications with either one of us. You and I are both going to be using this in our business and, if I’m going to be able to competently advise you on this issue, it probably won’t hurt for me to at least have a basic understanding of it as well–and the really good news is that you will not even be billed for my gaining this understanding!

2. I Am No Longer Counting on the Yellow Pages for New Clients

Second, while I love you and truly appreciate you as a client, our relationship is not monogamous. I know you have other lawyers and, quite frankly, I hope to keep gaining new clients. One of the ways I hope to accomplish this is by developing a greater presence out in the market-place and social media is a great way to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that you are able to find me in the Yellow Pages but, to be quite honest, I have not opened a copy of the Yellow Pages in years and I suspect that most of my prospective clients are no different.

3. I Prefer to Learn the Ropes Before Making the Mistakes

Third, I know this is a topic that we have discussed many times before. Please understand that I am not pointing fingers that you but simply explaining myself. As I have explained to you a few other times, unless a situation requires immediate action (and most do not), it is usually best to take your time and study the situation, gain an understanding of how it works, plan out your strategy, and then begin executing your plan. That is, learn as much as you can from the work of others and their mistakes before going in and making mistakes of your own! Right now that is exactly what I’m doing. I have no delusions of my becoming the next great social media blogger nor would I trade the wonderful privilege I have of serving clients like you (despite the sarcasm dripping from every other line of this blog, I really do say this with all sincerity).

I love my work. However, I have a lot of learning to do before I become proficient at (A) understanding how to effectively use social media in the business context, (B) actually being effective at using social media in the business context, and (C) actually learn the ins and outs of blogging before I can begin blogging about topics that are of interest to you and your business (since you don’t seem to think this one is). Therefore, since I am taking the time to study this subject matter, I may as well share what I’m learning with others. Moreover, in the event you ever decide to bring your company out of the stone ages, I will be able to direct you to this blog and let you learn what I have learned and not bill you one red cent for the advice! See, no matter what I do, I am always thinking about your best interests.

4. I Really Don’t Want to Look Like An Idiot!

Have you seen anything in the news lately about Kenneth Cole? Oh wait, sorry, I got distracted … where was I? Oh, ok …

Fourth and finally, I really did mean it when I said I do not want to look like an idiot. One of the things I have learned is that there is an unwritten code of social mores in the world of social media and one little faux paux can have you branded as an idiot in no time. You understand what I mean here, right? It’s like we’ve discussed many times before, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure … oh, and speaking of a pound of cure, please don’t forget about that last bill I sent you a few months ago … the children need new shoes.