It took me months to finally publish a blog post.  It wasn’t for lack of ideas– I keep an on-going list of ideas I’d like to write about, and I’m constantly scribbling down concepts I’d like to flesh out in more detail.  But I waited..and waited.. and waited.. because I didn’t like how my website header looked (still don’t, if anyone is interested in helping make a nicer one), or my About page wasn’t worded to my liking.  I was waiting to perfect little things that in the grand scheme of things weren’t as important as the content I wanted to create. I finally jumped in– and everything else just came together.

So my question is, what are you waiting for?  Whether it’s that perfect job you’ve put off applying for because your resume is. not. absolutely. perfect, or that twitter account lying dormant because you haven’t built up a strong following, if you keep waiting until that elusive “perfect moment,” you’ll likely be waiting a helluva long time.

Organizations and small businesses sometimes wait to engage in social media outreach, just because they’re waiting for everything to be perfect.  Enough followers before you offer a deal, or enough fans before you launch a series of articles– they are waiting to provide the content, without realizing that the content will grow their audience.  We’re all guilty of waiting for that special moment, without realizing that while waiting we’re missing countless moments.

It doesn’t take paying some “social media consultant” a gazillion dollars and spending countless hours on media training to start a twitter account and begin engaging with people.  Simply listen, and respond, and you’ll see the benefits of the medium.  Just today,  super-blogger Jeff Gibbard shared a story of a business simply listening to what he was saying on twitter, engaging in conversation, and winning over his service.

The simple gesture of reaching out to someone nearby, talking about something, seemingly mindless, Marathon Grill got a regular for lunch; I may have never tried it otherwise.

It’s these simple gestures, simply listening and engaging, that’s important with social media. You don’t need to wait, you can simply jump in.

While you wait for these “perfect moments,” you run the risk of missing opportunity, often-times unbeknown to you.  Just look at Chris Coons, Democratic nominee for Senate in Delaware.  Running in a year highly unfavorable for Democrats, many others took a pass on the race.  There was a likely shoe-in Republican nominee for the seat– so why jump into an unwinnable race?  Well, the race can instantly become winnable when the other side nominates an unelectable candidate.  Suddenly your decision to just jump in makes a whole lot of sense.  Same goes for Scott McAdams in Alaska.  Running in a Republican state, in a Republican year, as a Democrat might not have made much sense– until Lisa Murkowski launched a write-in campaign, and suddenly you have a chance at becoming a United States Senator.

My point is that, yes it’s important to plan, yes it’s important to have goals before acting haphazardly, but when that waiting becomes debilitating, you’re losing opportunities, both known and unknown.  Just jump in, head-first, with whatever you want to do– and everything else will work itself out.

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  • http://www.socialmediaphilanthropy.com Jeff Gibbard

    It’s the reason that I always loved the Nike slogan: Just Do It.

    I’m reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpins right now and there’s a concept in there: “Real Artists Ship.” It’s funny that we now have the technology to do more than ever before, give voices to anyone and everyone and yet so many people are terrified to hit “Publish.”

    Your example of Chris Coons in DE is perfectly appropriate for this post.

    Time isn’t stopping or slowing down, opportunity only shows it’s face so often so you are absolutely right, dive in, head first!

    • http://jakekaskey.wordpress.com jakekaskey

      Thanks for the comment, Jeff. I honestly think that so much of that fear you talk about has to do with waiting for that elusive ideal of perfection– afraid to hit publish, like I was, because my header sucks and I disliked my about page; or a company afraid to engage on facebook because if their customers clicked over to their website it isn’t completely finished; or a candidate afraid to jump into a campaign because the political winds are so against their own party. But, like Coons, you never know what will happen, and taking first steps only builds upon everything else, like a snowballing effect. I had been meaning to write the post on Coons for a while now, and it was your post that finally married all my own ideas together for the post to actually get written.