I have been the new intern at Roundpeg for about a month now. At the beginning of week three, my brain hit a wall! Trying to keep all of these new-to-me technologies straight, while keeping the big picture view just sent me over the edge. And then there is the infectious high energy and frenetic activity level to contend with. When you are in this office, you feel like you are participating in the pulse of small business development. It is fantastic.

Thankfully, I had a clarifying moment today while attending Roundpeg’s Social Media Stew. The melding of all I have learned over the last few weeks came to this:

•  Social media is new. It uses new technology and new thinking on the part of business – letting your customer engage in your message. Traditional marketing methods call for tight control of your reputation and one-way communication with your customers. Social media is about having a conversation with your customer base and encouraging others to join in. This is a very scary idea to traditional marketers like myself. However, I see how it can challenge a company to create superior products and services, and to provide exceptional customer service  – things that keep customers coming back and attract new ones.

• In social media, there is no room for fear, but there is room for mistakes. I cannot tell you how many times Allison, Lorraine, Taylor and Jay have said to me, “Just do it” when it comes to Twitter. I am still caught up in the old idea that because I am typing, I am writing. With Twitter, when I am typing, I am conversing. I would never be the wallflower at a networking event, so why should I behave like one on Twitter? Joining the conversations between strangers is acceptable at cocktail parties, and it is acceptable on Twitter. And, at face-to-face events, you try not to have a “foot-in-your-mouth” moment, but they always happen (at least to me). It is embarrassing in the moment (and when it is recalled over and over by your gleeful co-workers), but it is eventually forgotten. The same is true of Twitter. I left “The Stew” today ready to jump in.

• I am not alone. As I sat in the seminar today, I was surrounded by small business professionals who are as perplexed by social media as I am. All the more reason to delve right in, make my mistakes, and move along the experience continuum – there are many others on it with me.

Social Media Stew left me charged to take on the world of social media.  If you need a boost, check out the next one early next year.