An ode to uncertainty

If you work with social media, it's possible you've already heard about Pay With a Tweet, a social payment tool which in my case I used more than once to download some piece of content I was interested in. The last one was this promising ebook by Hyper Island (I haven't read it yet, if you have let me know if it's good).

The exchange is simple: like the content? Well tweet about it and get it for free. That's it. Or is it? According to Mitch Joel, there's actually a big deal about this. Actually, he states the mechanism is all turned upside down. Check this out:

  • I tweet. I get the book. It's very transactional. For sending a message to my network (and spreading the word that this book exists), I get the book. Whether I love the book or hate the book, the deal is done. I've done what was asked of me.
  • I get the book. I tweet. It's very human. Because I got a free book and because it blew mind (let's face it, if anyone is going to publish a book, let's make sure it blows our minds), I'll do anything for the author. What happens next? I'll tell everyone (and so will you). It won't just be a tweet, it could be something on LinkedIn and Facebook too. I may write a blog post about it. I may email my close friends and tell them to pick it up. I may want to interview the author for my podcast. I may even want to write it up as one of my regular columns. Who knows? When a consumer derives value - especially from something that was given to them for free - they become the best kind of evangelist.

I hadn't thought about it this way, which is one of the many wonders of working with such an infant industry as the social media industry. As it turns out, the social web acts as an enabler for both human and transactional relationships, but at the same time it blurs the frontiers to a point where we know little about what is truly correct or moral or agreeable.

We're going through a revolution. Revolutions bring both mass destruction and mass creation, and no solution is truly absolute because more options open more doors but also bring in more problems. And that's the point: to make us think about how are we going to figure them out.

When I came across this stunt by Hyper Island, I happily tweeted about the book and downloaded it; that's not the point. The point is that once more we see that certainty and obviousness are not real concepts in the marketing world — and that's what's so fascinating about it.

Or, as I recently heard, "whatever brilliant ideas you have or care, the opposite may also be true".

Never settle for absolute certainty.