One of the downsides of being so actively involved with social media on both a personal and professional level is that it is easy to lose perspective.
The truth, however, is that there are lots of people still starting to explore the use of social media or, for that matter, not using them at all. It can be difficult to recognize this reality given that Facebook has more than 600 million users, Twitter has close to 200 million, and there are about 200 million blogs.
But if you step back, it becomes obvious the whole world is not obsessed with, fascinated by or interested in social media. They may get there in time but they are still far behind those of us who probably spend too much on them.
What is different and refreshing about the newbies is their excitement and enthusiasm. While many of my professional peers have accepted social media as just another part of the landscape, it is great to see people stoked about social media's potential and the different ways they can be used.
I got to experience this optimism and buzz firsthand last weekend at PodCamp Toronto, a free event at Ryerson University that attracted more than 1,100 people. While a handful of people from the social media "crowd" attended or presented, I had not met most of the attendees before.
After participating in a panel and doing a workshop on core messaging, it was interesting to talk to people who are hungry for information and excited about the possibilities. I went to lunch with a group whose infectious enthusiasm about social media was impossible to resist.
For those of us who live and breath social media, it is a healthy change of pace to recognize there are still many people just establishing a foothold. They are engaged, interested and enthusiastic about gaining more insight.
At the end of the day, it is a real eye-opener that social media have a long way to go, despite their major gains in the past couple of years.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting , a content and social media strategic and tactical consultancy that creates and delivers 'stories' for companies looking to capture the attention of customers, bloggers, the media, business partners, employees and investors. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware, b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understands how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.