Gathering viewpoints – having & eating cake!

I have been engaged in a few projects recently where we have taken the time to step outside of the expertise in the room and ask people beyond the project their thoughts and ideas.  Now we all know that in theory this is what we should do .. but in reality is it really worthwhile?

I have to admit to being sceptical at times about things we ‘should do’ and often subscribe to the ‘just get on with it’ approach.  Working in social media things are very instant and getting on with just doing it is essential. Social media is fast, we try new things constantly, some work and that’s great and some don’t so we either move on or adjust.  To have to stop, take time, ask people what they think is perhaps a concept that doesn’t sit naturally with social media.

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This all presented a bit of a dilemma for me – do I stay true to my social media roots and just go for it or do I stop, gather opinion and delay? But why can’t we have our cake and eat it? Why can’t we get on with doing things AND gather opinion in a timely manner? The more I thought about it the more I thought … we can !! We have the power … social media !!

Sometimes the solution is staring us in the face and screaming very loudly “look here” Social media is a great way to gather opinion ! So here’s what we did:

The first project we developed a tweetchat, asked for ideas and thoughts and then discussed those ideas and thoughts to develop a concept.  We then developed a blog to share that concept and from that held another tweetchat to discuss the concept.  I can now see this becoming a cyclical thing as the project develops:

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The second project was a little more complex so we felt we needed to actually talk to people.  We posted a blog asking people to help, we then held a webinar and gathered opinion and this then fed into the project.  The process was quick, easy and effective.  We recorded the webinar and captured all the typed comments too so we could refer back.

Was it worthwhile? In both cases I would wholeheartedly say YES!

On both occasions other people saw things that we had missed.  We received constructive feedback that confirmed our thinking in some places and enhanced it in others.  On one occasion the feedback was the polar opposite to the plan so we listened and adjusted .. and thank goodness we did as this was instrumental to the success of the project.

The value of listening to what other people think is beyond measure however I don’t think we have to stop to do it! Social media is a fantastic resource for garnering opinion, you get a wide range of views in a short space of time in formats that are easily captured for future reference or analysis.  My learning here is yes just get on with it and yes listen to others views but the two things are not necessarily exclusive – we can have our cake and eat it!