What Survivor can teach you about social media

Posted on April 7, 2010


survivor social media lessons and online presence
I’ll admit it, I’m a big Survivor fan. Yes, this classical music, Masterpiece Theater person also likes reality tv.

What does Survivor have to to with Social Media? Here’s my take:

  • Everyone is talking about it
  • Relative unknowns can become ‘famous,’ if only for a short while
  • It offers a microcosm of human behavior
  • It’s a game and if you know the rules, you can succeed.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned so far from Survivor:

1. Define your goal

In Survivor, it’s pretty clear-cut. The players want to win, or at least make it to the final three.

In Social Media, your goal should be equally clear. Is it to have a more professional online presence? Is it to get more blog readers? Is it to get more clients?

2. Develop concrete steps to achieve your goal.

In Survivor, it’s usually to create alliances with various team members. Or it’s to conserve your energy so you can win challenges.

In Social Media, it should be steps like: completing your LinkedIn profile, asking former bosses and coworkers for recommendations.

3. Don’t try to do it alone.

In Survivor, the loners are quickly voted off. People who aren’t team players are not wanted.

In Social Media, collaboration is the key to success. For example, if you are looking for a new job and want help with your LinkedIn profile, ask a recruiter friend for feedback. If you’re a blogger, develop relationships with other bloggers.

4. Slow and steady will win, not the quick flash.

In Survivor, anyone who comes on really strong at first, is quickly voted off. They are viewed as threats.

In Social Media, people see through the hype and you’ll lose credibility. At a recent WordPress blog camp, I sat next to an interesting individual who blogged about successful tv shows. His first post was about American Idol and he was amazed at how many views he initially got for his blog. But, guess what? He hasn’t written a post since then, so any good press he received is was quickly lost.

5. Be flexible and be aware.

In the latest Survivor, Heroes and Villains, Boston Rob thought he had it all figured out. Russell threw him for a loop when he played the immunity idol by giving it to Parvarti.

In Social Media, things change quickly. Be prepared to react and change course if necessary. Right now, the hype is all about the Apple iPad. That doesn’t mean we all should start blogging about it.