Back when I was at university I was very disappointed to be turned down for a barista job at a well known Wellington cafe, based on the fact that I didn’t drink coffee. I’d had 2 years experience making the stuff as well as having attended a couple of training sessions and thought that I was more than qualified. Now, looking back, I feel they were probably right. Making great coffee isn’t just about science – it’s about adapting quickly to change and knowing how the slightest change in your behaviour can alter the taste. If the weather changes dramatically, you’ll notice this in your fresh grind and will need to adjust your technique to get the coffee right.

I was reminded of this experience recently while working with a Social Media coordinator who wasn’t on Twitter, didn’t use RSS and only used Facebook for work purposes. The question I ask is: Should you hire a Social Media Expert that doesn’t use social media?

Eighteen year old Toni probably would have said yes. Go for it, if they know the theory then why shouldn’t they be hired? Now I feel a little different.

Social media is an ever changing landscape where many of the rules are still being made up. Being successful isn’t about setting up a Facebook page and paying some company to get you a million fans. It’s about engaging with your audience – and gaining fans that actually care about what you’re doing. After all, which would you prefer – 100 tyre-kickers crowding into your high street store, or 1 person coming in and actually buying something?

In order to truly understand a constantly changing landscape, you need to be close to it, watching it as it changes.