Monday, May 9, 2011

The 7 Human Qualities of Social Media

29 years ago, in his international best-selling tome on modern marketing "In Search of Excellence" Tom Peters (with Robert H. Waterman) coined the memorable phrase "Hard is soft. Soft is hard."

"Hard is soft. Soft is hard." is a business paradox which I reckon is as relevant today and applies just as much in the realm of social media. Tom explains the phrase again in his new book "The Little BIG Things".

It essentially means: In business, often what seems more important i.e. the hard stuff (the numbers, cold statistics, hard facts, ROI figures) is actually the softer (less important) stuff. More so, in the long term, when it is weighed against the seemingly less important aspects i.e. soft stuff (such as people qualities, the cultural fit, the attitude, the mindset etc.)... turns out, it is the soft stuff which is of paramount importance to the running, survival and growth of an organisation.

The 7 Human Qualities of Social Media

Leaping off that intelligent observation, I've listed the 7 top "human" qualities required to be a successful Social Media practitioner:
  1. Humility
  2. Kindness
  3. Patience
  4. Curiosity
  5. Creativity
  6. Openness aka Transparency
    and most importantly, 
  7. Honesty... i.e. being yourself

The Psychology of Social Media

Get the psychology... and you're on the right path to getting social media. Because all the rest really is hands-on experimentation, first-hand exploration, real-time learning and online application.

The greatest inventions of the world came to be via repeated "Trial and Error." It seems that's become the norm today. It's just the way social media works and that's the long and short of it. Or the hard and soft!

The Human Face of the Web

My post originally ended above. But I came across something related on an important topic, which I had to add. Made me stop and think!

As technology deepens its involvement with humans, issues such as Web Psychology, Humanisation of Tech, People Qualities of Social Media, and Netiquette will take centrestage. But with no guidebook to refer to, what is emerging is "crowdsourced" knowledge, some of which has evolved into the Cardinal Rules of the Internet:

  • There is no Net police. The Web governs itself. 
  • Don't publish anything online you wouldn't want your Mum to read
  • What happens in Webspace, stays in Webspace
  • Think before you click. Once you click, you lose control.
  • Listen and Learn. Be nice. Play fair. Respect people's preferences and privacy.
  • Don't just do social media, be social

Social is not something you do. It's something you are.

On that note, full respect! to Jess & James of charitable trust Sweet as Social on their Be Nice Online viral campaign  initiative. A spirited drive to spread awareness about and curb cyberbullying.

Give it a thought. Spread the word.
It's clearly the better side (human face) of the Web.
Many Thanks in advance... for being a good, thinking Netizen.


  1. Thanks for your kind words and reference to our project and campaign! We are humbled and sincerley greatful - Jess & James, Sweet As Social

  2. My pleasure, Jess & James. Glad I could contribute to your cause in a tiny way.

    Good Luck with your "Be Nice Online" campaign. It's projects such as these that give technology a human face - a face people can relate to and benefit from. We need more people like you'll out there driving more projects like these.

    Sure makes the Web a better place to login :-)

    Best Wishes, @