Soul is the secret ingredient

Geno likes to quote our friend, Francois Gossieaux, on a regular basis: “The vast majority of social media communities are dead-on-arrival.”

I can already hear you saying, “But we have all the right things in place, like our Ning and a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account and this tool and that tool and bells and whistles and, and, and…”

Quit it.

It’s still going to be DOA. For the simple (and complicated) reason that it lacks one ingredient. And around these parts, it’s what we call SOUL.

Soul can’t be replaced by your technology platform. It can’t be duped by your influential blogger outreach strategy. And it can’t be duplicated by the hollow shell of the Trojan Horse that looks like a community, but is really another “push” mechanism with the illusion of engagement.

Soul is full of emotion. Soul is immaterial. Soul comes from people. Not platforms. Soul begins deep within the recesses of your chest. It’s wrapped in what you stand for and permeates every aspect of what you do and say.

So you want to know why you built that shiny community and it sucks? Because you forgot something. You started with the tech and not the soul. And you’re just another url in a sea of meaningless ports that are begging people to come to their party and talk about their brand. That’s soul-less.

Is it easy to find soul? Not always. Sometimes it’s as plain as the nose on your face. But a lot of times, you have to dig. Talk to people (face-to-face even *gasp*). Participate in their lives and not just their conversations. Walk a mile in their shoes. Only then can you even begin to understand what makes them tick – and if you’re lucky, get a glimpse of their soul.

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  • Tito Mambo

    This is the historical struggle of marketing. As a race, marketers talk about humanity and creativity but run headlong to the certainty of numbers and technology at every chance. The irony is that capturing the “soul” of an experience is the magic of marketing, the thing that separates the great from the good, but is immediately forgotten when the latest “science” shows a little leg.
    As always,
    Tio Tito

  • Jim

    Thanks you Spike; sobering thoughts for those of us who have lost faith in the current state of the social media frenzy. Reading this has rejuvenated my interest in the social media world. Now; if I can just remember where in the heck did I put my soul, I know I had it just a few minuets ago. You can bet that once I find it again I will never let it go :)

  • marianasoffer

    For arguments sake lets separate the soul from the spirit. All of the mystic texts that I know of (Bible, Quran, Gitas, Talmud, Cabala. etc) make such a distinction.

    The soul again for arguments sake can be defined as the human aspect of the being, the intellect and the biology (body and mind) that portion which relies on and interacts with the physical world and yes science is ever delving deeper into this world.

    The spiritual portion of mans being, the place that is ever immortal and present is where, to me at least, where the foundation for all TRUTH and beauty begins. Truth being defined as that which is as it is regardless of anyone’s thoughts or theories or proofs on the matter. It will still be what it will be.

    Beauty being defined as truth. Nothing more and nothing less.

    The beauty of truth is that unless one is spiritual of nature (not physical) there is no way possible for the perception of the truth because in this case truth is spiritual in nature.

    Hope it helps us all understand and share our knowledge to get even further than we are now.

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  • Kevin Briody

    Excellent post, and cheers as well to Tito’s comment. Too often great marketing, filled with emotion, meaning, and relevance, is sacrificed to the numbers and the pressures of the quarterly and FY churns.

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  • Adrienne Craighead (@AdrienneC2)

    G’day Spike,

    Insightful observations. I especially like your definition/description of soul:

    “Soul is full of emotion. Soul is immaterial. Soul comes from people. Not platforms. Soul begins deep within the recesses of your chest. It’s wrapped in what you stand for and permeates every aspect of what you do and say.”

    Reflecting on the meaning, it makes me proud that our first tete-a-tete was over soul food. It’s an inspiring beginning for a fresh friendship, n’est pas?


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  • @es_strategic (Elissa Shuck)

    Thank you for the great words on soul and social media. As someone diving in to social media fairly recently (and reading everything I can get my hands relative to it), your blog was a refreshing confirmation that staying true to myself in social media (as in all of life) is the best strategy.

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