KevJumba: Putting the Social in Social Media

Listen to the social media gurus - from Gary Vaynerchuk to Guy Kawasaki - and what you'll hear is that social media is all about building community.

That people are looking for connections. For purpose. To be heard. And seen. And acknowledged.

Why else would Facebook have grown to over 600 million users in such a short period? Or Hebbo at over 200 million, Bebo over 113 million - or China's QZone with over 480 million users?

Because in an online, disconnected world, people are looking for human connections.

Watch the social media space, however, and what you see is that - like any business model - it's all about converting those connections into money. Especially as LinkedIn set the tone for over-subscribed, high payout IPOs.

That's why, when a social media superstar like, KevJumba, answers the call from a socially conscious organization, like The Supply Education Group, you see the importance of how social can and should be social.

The Supply Education Group put out a YouTube challenge to KevJumba to teach a class in Nairobi, Kenya. Class 5, to be exact.

In this delightful video, you see the kids of Class 5 doing their best to charm KevJumba. And it worked.

Only KevJumba went one better. Not only did he do that visit - now, with his over 1.6 million YouTube followers in hand, KevJumba has committed to helping build a secondary school in Nairobi so that when Class 5 graduates from their K-8 school, they'll have a high school to attend.

Because at the moment they don't.

So, with that purpose - and making social truly social - KevJumba is asking his followers this weekend as he celebrates his 21st birthday to give $21 each to raise the $50,000 needed to build a school and create hope and opportunity for society's future worldwide.

KevJumba is giving back as part of The Supply Education Group's "Blessed to be a Blessing Campaign" and, in the process, showing just what social media can and should be doing for society.

So what is your social media strategy doing to help build society?  Think about it.

(An earlier version of this post was published on Technorati.)

Vaynerchuk, Having Chops and the Question of Expertise

It's a funny thing.

A few days ago Gary Vaynerchuk, the social media expert and consultant (among other things), did an interview with Tech Crunch TV during which, in part, he talked about the 99.5% of 'experts' in the social media space being nothing of the kind.

In fact, he called them 'clowns.'

That has gotten him a lot of kickback.  A lot.  Enough that he decided to put up a separate video clarifying - but not stepping back from - what he meant.  (It's at the bottom of this post.)

Two things here.  First, he's absolutely correct - and not just about social media.

The reality is, when a new business opportunity presents itself or a new space opens up, a lot of people who know some stuff but who are not, in fact, experts present themselves to organizations as if they are.  Experts.

It does the particular space as well as the clients a real disservice.  It's expensive and it can be dangerous. (I've seen newly minted "management consultants" put businesses out of business.)

As Vaynerchuk states (and I love this expression), the experts you hire need to have 'business chops' as well as simple knowledge of social media mechanisms.  You want to bring people in who can help your business - not just get you up on Facebook, et al.

So, whether you're hiring or contracting - be smart.  Most important, be knowledgeable about what you need and want in your social media strategy.

Second, a rather timely announcement.

I have applied my business chops to the arena of social media in my new Working Paper, "Using Social Media to Differentiate Yourself - Locally and Globally."  It will help you with your strategic thinking as you figure out how to use this amazing new world to create and build new worlds of your own.

It won't tell you how to get up on or better use Facebook and the rest - but it will advise you on how to position yourself to get the biggest organizational bang for your social media buck.