Archive for May, 2011

Social Media is Just Like the Mafia

May 17, 2011

Obviously, with shows like Real Housewives of New Jersey and Mafia Wives, Italians and the mafia are kinda huge right now.  As a the granddaughter of someone that came over on the boat, I can totally appreciate this. Italians are a little different. We’re a little crazy and a whole lot of awesome. When I moved to Ohio, I actually exploited the fact that I am Italian and from New York. I had a lot of people fooled into thinking that I was somehow involved in the mafia. Yeah, I knew quite a few idiots.

Nowadays though, you’ve got to respect some of the values that the mafia stood for. Those tend to be just like the Italian values I grew up with and really will help you along in your social media presence:

1. Collect Favors: This is something I excel at. I’m a connector in social media, so I am always putting people in touch with those that can help them. If I know about a job, I pass it on. If I can help someone, I try to (although you can’t help everyone). A Don would probably say that I am collecting favors for a rainy day.  I don’t do this intentionally, but yeah, that is exactly what I am doing. You never know when you are going to need help, so be helpful in the meantime.

2. Make Sure It’s Actually Raining: If you redeem your favors at every small bump in the road, what are you going to do when it is a torrential downpour out there? You’re going to get wet and become washed up. Like a Don, be selective. Is this really the best use of someone’s time? Are they going to hate you for asking them to do this? Are you trying to get them to do your job for you? And are you trying to make this consultant do their job for free? Unless you’re in a severe emergency that the person you are asking can relate to, this is never okay.

3. Know Everything: To be an effective Don, you have to keep your ear to the ground. I have a freakish memory and can tell you something about all of my followers that I have interacted with. Not everyone can do that. I once heard about a guy that used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the girls he was talking to via online dating channels. While this seems cold, if you don’t have the memory, you absolutely have to do this kind of thing in business. Hell, you should probably do this regardless of your memory. Know the who, what and why of the people that you follow, and you have already gotten yourself a more faithful follower.

4. Have Respect: We all know that in the end that I’m a smart ass and I don’t like to show off what I know, so I get no respect. This is just one of those things that I struggle with on a daily basis. You cannot move ahead without respect. If you want to be a true leader of men or a Don, it helps if people talk about you in hushed tones. Okay, maybe not in hushed tones, but you get the point. You can be funny, but at the end of the day, you have to bring it and bring it hard.

5. Kill the Competition: If you’re not bringing it, competition is going to sprout up. The only way to kill it is to make sure you’ve got something that the other guy does. A truly great Don can kill off the competition without a single shot being fired. That is because they offer their followers protection. In the social media age, if you are offering the very best information in the very best way, you will never have to worry about the war.

6. Keep Your Trap Shut: Hey, look! Here’s another one I struggle with! In the mafia, loose lips get you killed. In social media, you can lose every bit of credibility you’ve ever had. This includes calling out those that unfollowed you, feeling the need to tell off someone where everyone can see it and publicly pointing out mistakes. If you’ve got a problem, take it offline or to a private channel. Making it public just sucks. Of course, those of us with Irish-Italian tempers have to work doubly hard at this one.

So in the end, it’s all about being a loyal, awesome person. If that’s really a hard thing for you, then maybe social media and the mafia aren’t your things. That’s okay. Nothing in this world is meant for everybody, and unlike the mafia, you can always get off this social media train.

How else do you think social media is like the mafia?