In 1973, Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” was Song of the Year and yielded three Grammys including Song of the Year. The back story of this song underscores the universal truth of Twitter and every social media platform now and yet to come.
The lyrics came from a poem by California-born singer songwriter Lori Lieberman. The poem was expanded into a lyric by Norman Gimbel and put to music by Charles Fox. Whether you know Roberta Flack’s version or the Fugee’s hip-hop version (with Lauren Hill), we can almost all sing it enough to do some serious karaoke damage to the classic. Bottom line: It’s an enticing song that tells a strong story that is relevant, at some level, to all of us.
The most interesting part of the story is that Lieberman saw Don McLean in concert and his song, “Empty Chairs” moved her to write her poem that would launch all this musical history. In other words, this song was triggered by a story of Don McLean’s who did all the “killing me softly.” McLean, who is truly so much more than American Pie, was one storyteller being “captured” by another.
So what does this have to do with Twitter and every social media platform yet to come?
The relevance is in the conversations and stories we share. It’s essentially the rebirth of collaborative storytelling that works for personal or business conversations – but it is just stories and conversations. Just like stories of old, it’s how you leverage the words that make it powerful … or not.
If you have tried one of these social media platforms and found it useless, then most likely you couldn’t find the relevance. Thank you for failing, please try again.
Twitter is perhaps the easiest and hardest of the lot to master. Go to search.twitter.com and search a term that’s important to you. Try something you have a real passion about. Try different terms about that area. Remember: You get to choose whose information you will subscribe to, or “follow.” Only choose people who add value to your day. That means you can totally ignore the people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Your time is valuable and you need as many fresh, new and current ideas as possible – and people to discuss them with. Of course, you must start a profile to filter these time-wasters out. Now you’re looking at the full “Twitter stream.”
Change the stock avatar to a photo. Add a profile with some information. Start following about 20 people first. Become a person who doesn’t become confused as a spammer, but become perceived as a person.
Why should you even get involved in this? Because where else can you directly ask questions of CEOs, CMOs and plain smart people, like yourself. Contrary to popular belief, these are not just kids here. The average age is between 45 and 54 years old with an average income of $ 68,740 (age data: ComScore quoted in ComputerWorld; income data: BigResearch ) .
This is the new professional network and it’s not limited to your geography. It’s limited to your curiosity and willingness to share your stories. Not sharing what you had for breakfast, but comments of value. The stories of people and businesses, small and large are developing every day, and you get to be a part of it. Businesses have people who have conversations with customers, because social media is about talking and listening. I wish I could remember who said “companies don’t tweet; people tweet.” It’s personal. It’s also a way of monitoring your brand, and reacting quickly and in a positive manner. But the best part of all is that everyone can have a seat and learn.
So what does Lori Lieberman think of social media and storytelling? “If I’d had my iPhone back then, I’d have “tweeted” —- ‘Empty Chairs. Blew me away. Must write!’ –and I can only hope a conversation would have begun… .”