When I heard about Gary Vee’s talk at #140conf was titled ‘Scaling Caring’ I though “Seriously? That’s stupid”.

I just watched the video. I was wrong. Maybe in the wrong hands that could have been a stupid talk, but in Gary’s hands it, like everything else he does, was a fun, insightful and earnest attempt to open people’s eyes to what’s in front of them.

Scalable Caring

The talk actually touches on what Jeremiah and I were blogging about recently. Jeremiah had asked the question ‘Can people scale along with Social Media’. In other words, can you really keep up with all these incoming messages while remaining authentic and doing a real level of caring.

My response was no, you can’t. And you shouldn’t try. Social Media is actually Personal Media and it’s not about talking to everyone who sends you a message – it’s about being authentic and staying in touch with friends and things that interest you.

Gary has highlighted another type of Scale though – one that Jeremiah and I missed. One that is obvious to some but all too often missed by many.

Gary’s point was that brands (personal or corporate) should pay attention to the once private and now very public,  searchable and archive-able word of mouth that is happening at breakneck pace across the web today. You should care about every single mention and react, respond and resolve every single mention of your brand.

I wasn’t going to write a post on this – it was just a passing thought – and then I got a PayPal customer satisfaction survey in my inbox. Really? Do you really need to run a survey to know what I’m thinking? Why don’t you just tune into my Twitter feed?

Does PayPal listen to Twitter? I don’t know. Do they respond? Doesn’t seem so. Their @PayPal account seems to be just re-posting news highlights. Maybe they are – I don’t have time to do any thorough research on this specific case, but it did tip me over the edge to post.

Gary Vee is making a fundamental point that we’ve all made in the short history of this new media ecosystem – but as usual his delivery style makes all the difference.

This theme especially resonates with me with my recent work at JS-Kit. We (the strategy team) often talk about support as a killer feature. We try to respond to every blog post and twitter message about our service to let customers know we care. But more than that, we actually care. We don’t just respond, we factor it into our decision making. I’m sure this isn’t unique, but it is far from pervasive – especially outside the web industry – and it should be.

We also spend a lot of time thinking about how a tool like JS-Kit Comments might facilitate more scalable caring. How can a site owner or a participant/user keep track of their audience or their friends in all the social media noise?

The answers are still being formulated – but rest assured I will keep an ear out for the clear and resounding feedback – not with a survey, but by tuning into the ongoing, searchable and archivable conversation.

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