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3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be an Early Adopter

Ello, the much talked-about social network of late, has left many of us wondering if we should invest time in the site and, if we should, how to get into it.

Early Adoption - Social PR - Ello

The site is invitation-only, so unless we know someone who knows someone, we’re pretty much stuck on the sidelines. That may not be such a bad thing.

Let’s be early adopters!

Sunrise - Early Adopters

Early adopters always are lauded – after the fact. Their success rate isn’t exactly known, but it’s safe to assume they miss more than they hit. While being an early adopter may have its advantages, the truth is that we can’t all be one. We don’t have the time; we have other priorities; or we just don’t have the drive to try every new thing that comes to market.

It’s okay that we’re all not going into a dither about Ello or Snapchat or whatever the newest and latest thing is. Really. Instead of championing for more early adopters, let’s challenge each other to be skeptical and to stand against peer pressure. We don’t have to be afflicted or conflicted by the “shiny object syndrome” as Brian Solis so aptly puts it.

Want to see Brian’s thoughts on shiny objects? Get his e-book “What If PR Stood for People and Relationships” for free now!

Change doesn’t mean growth.

Early Adoption - PR - Distraction

The “new” doesn’t always mean growth. It means change, but we change things all the time. We change clothes; we change laundry detergents; we change Internet service providers. In those cases, we’re merely replacing one thing for another. Sometimes, those things can be an improvement, but they tend to be a one-to-one exchange.

For change to mean growth, the change has to improve an existing process or procedure. It has to give us the ability to speak with customers in a way we haven’t or couldn’t previously. If it doesn’t, the change won’t bring growth. We’ll stay at the same level and do the same things. We’ll just do them with a different tool.

Who does the new tool serve?

Early Adopters PR - ? Marks

Every tool we add should serve our customers, our brands and us. It has to serve all three pieces, and it has to do so in that order. If a tool is the seat upon which our work rests, our customers, our brands and we are the legs. It’s a tripod system. If one of those legs isn’t there or is shorter than the other, the seat will fail.

If a tool serves only our customers, we find ourselves in “shiny object” land. We have to chase every new tool and technique because an undisclosed number of customers has insisted upon them. Our brand messaging disintegrates. Nobody knows what we stand for anymore. For that matter, neither do we. We’ve gotten lost in our customers’ requests.

If a tool serves only our brands, it becomes self-serving. Everything is “me, me, me.” We don’t like the messaging nor do our customers. We feel like we’re being pushy because we are being pushy. Our customers quit buying from us because it’s obvious that we don’t care about them. We care about our brand above all else, even above the employees who work for it.

If a tool only serves us, it doesn’t benefit anyone but us. We might justify the tool as a “test,” but we know the truth: we want to use the tool because we think it could be fun. While we need to enjoy the tools we use – it ensures we’ll keep using them long-term – our enjoyment is not the primary aim. We, and the tools, are to serve our companies and customers.

Should we add Ello to our PR toolkits? Maybe, but we need to exercise wisdom when it comes to adding a new tool or social network to our already full kits. I’ve yet to receive an invitation to the network, so I’ll remain a spectator. If I do receive an invitation, I plan to assess the situation carefully before jumping into the fray.

Want to learn more about how Ello fits in PR? Check out this blog post by Geoff Livingston!

Images: Chris Isherwood, Beth Kanter (Creative Commons)

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.

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