Simplicity and Complexity

communication toolsSocial media is both simple and complex.

Social platforms are nothing more than text, photos, audio, and video created, shared, and discussed in public. Nothing overly complex about that from a front-end, user perspective.  Really quite simple.

I find it interesting that what often holds people back is the misperception that the technology is just too complex and time consuming to understand.   Truth be told, the technology is the easy part.

Sure there is a learning curve, but relatively speaking, social media is something that just about anyone can figure out pretty quickly. As Jason Falls would say – “It’s not Rocket Surgery.”  Social platforms don’t have hundreds of millions of users because they are difficult to use. They are designed to be simple. So why are people so resistant to the technology?

Much of the resistance comes from fear and a general misunderstanding of the dynamic of simplicity and complexity.  YouTube can teach you how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook – the platforms – what it can’t teach you quite so easily is how to actually communicate with other human beings.  The real complexity of social media is related to human beings, not technology – a subtle but important difference.  Human beings are tangible.  Everyone knows what a person is.  We then falsely assume that because we all know what a person is that dealing with people is simple.  Nope.  Human beings are extremely complex, often irrational, frequently unpredictable, and uniquely amazing creatures – and still, for the most part, we aren’t categorically terrified of having simple conversations with other people.

If I challenged you as a business owner, VP of Sales, or Director of Human Resources to go to a networking event and talk to people, there would probably not be much resistance.   Provided you could pick the event, you would likely get some value from communicating with other professionals.  Even the most introverted of folks could probably pull it off for an hour or two. Yet, I have to frequently convince these same people that using simple technology platforms to speak with people is a worthwhile exercise.  Most people are pretty comfortable with engaging other humans in conversation (which is familiar yet actually very complex), yet scared by technology (which is unfamiliar, yet pretty simple).

When you are crafting your marketing strategy, trying to figure out what to do with social media, or pondering how to invest your time, it is important to focus on trying to understand how communication technology can help you better understand the complex needs of the people you want to serve. In doing so you can uncover hidden opportunities for growth.

Get over the hurdle that is the perceived complexity of technology.  It is largely imagined and easily overcome. Technology can very quickly move from a complex unknown to simple tool you use daily.

Don’t believe me?  See that phone on your desk?  It was not there 100 years ago.  Today the phone is an assumption.  You are comfortable with it.  You don’t worry about it.  You just use it to communicate.  It is a simple tool.   Would you go to a seminar on the benefits of using a phone in your business?  Probably not.  You might go to a seminar about creative ways to use the phone to generate sales, learn from your customers, attract new talent, and get new ideas – particularly if there were examples of others doing it.  These are issues of human behavior and creativity, not technology.  What is challenging about the phone isn’t figuring out how it works, it is knowing how to have a conversation with the person on the other end – picking it up, listening, talking, and making something happen.

Social media is no different.  The complexity comes more from people than from technology.   Focus on how technology can give you the opportunity to address the complex needs of human beings.   It’s not easy, but it can make all the difference in the world.

David E. Bowman

As Chief Mar­ket­ing Strate­gist for The Ohlmann Group, my job is to use my knowl­edge of busi­ness strat­egy, my pas­sion for cre­ative expres­sion, and my skills of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to help peo­ple achieve the remark­able. I believe that Mar­ket­ing is both art and sci­ence - using the uniquely human gifts of cre­ativ­ity and ana­lyt­i­cal think­ing to deliver some­thing of value to our world

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