Thursday, 3 March 2011

My Social Media Inspiration: astronauts and boxers

Some rights reserved by The U.S. Army

The social media space race is truly upon us. I used to call it the gold rush, but since I think that the technology at our disposal is a bit more advanced, I think that space race is more apt.

The rush to get social media off the ground at companies is really apparent. But many feel that rather than concentrating on one or two platforms at a time to spread their message, and assign departments to look after the social assets, they should be 'just out there doing it'. So they sign up for every account imaginable.

When an astronaut is going into space, he is breaking new ground. He could be making history. He could be doing something nobody has ever done before, or adding a new perspective to something we've grown accustomed to (the moon).

Did he just get his hands dirty and do it? No.

He was just one part of a carefully considered plan. From inception, to carrying out the launch, to orbiting the earth, to going boldly where no man has gone before, he breaks new ground meticulously, to eliminate all reasonable risks, and carry out a successful mission.

He was part of an amazing team that trained with him, prepared him, gave him mission targets, and smaller targets along the way. They monitored and measured his progress and gave him feedback. They helped him when he got stuck. They didn't leave him hanging.

Mission control were always there for the astronaut.

Contrary to popular belief, Mike Tyson wasn't just an animal in the ring.


Muhammad Ali was the greatest, but Tyson was the best. At his peak, he was unstoppable, but in his corner he had his mentor, his biggest fan and his trainer, Cus D'amato. Tyson was a quiet boy outside of the ring, who really studied and understood his art. D'Amato honed his talent into something great by forcing Tyson to watch endless training videos, mapping out his opponents and mercilessly targeting their weak spots.

Tyson, although he was a strong man, would not have been the brilliant fighter he was just by turning up and slugging it out. Planning and careful preparation was needed to make him the boxing monster that he was (forgive the irony of that last statement). Stupidity, lack of planning and forethought was what ruined him outside of the ring.

Which one would you rather be?

The heavyweight that doesn't prepare?

The astronaut that just hops into a shuttle and blasts off into space?

Or would you rather be part of a winning team. Social Media mission control. The one that they all turn to when times are tough. The one that can think himself out of a corner.

Which one do you want to be? And which one is your company?