photo of Julien Smith

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

You guys emphasize several times in the book that this is not a social media book. It’s almost as though you guys doth protest too much! Why is that?

One reason is about positioning. As authors you can’t just be like, “I’m about social media.” It’s like saying, “I’m about e-mail.” It’s totally stupid.

The other reason is simply to get people thinking beyond social media. We’re stuck in this glut, this place where everyone is thinking, “well, if I can just get more Facebook likes then everything is going to be okay.” But everything is not going to be okay.

The dilemma is that you have to get the readers out of that as soon as you possibly can. And so you make the first sentence of the entire book, “this is not about social media,” and hopefully you get them into another mindset.

I notice that you use the term “platform agnostic” in the book, which is something we hear a lot lately but we’re not always sure what it means. What does platform agnostic mean to you?

To me, it means, use the most effective thing. And it means, don’t be subject to the whims of media or the whims of what anyone else is telling you. The answer to what to use or what platform to work with is: the one that will be most effective.

Although “content” isn’t a variable in The Impact Equation, the whole book seems to rest on the premise that successful people and brands need to be creating lots of great, relevant content, constantly. Do you really think everyone can be a content creator? Content is hard!

Of course content is hard! That’s a totally valid point. I think content should just be taken in a broader sense. The Nike Fuel Band, when you put it on and it gives you updates of how you’re doing, it is a form of content entertainment. It’s a form of content because it’s something you pay attention to.

Almost all media is content in some form or another. So even though you may not be creating content per se, as in blog posts or television, you are creating something that is inherently media-like.

One of the premises behind the book is, everyone is media now because we interact more through media then we do in “real life.”

Almost every interaction we have is through email, through phone, through twitter, etc. And every little while we meet in person and we discover it’s actually different than anything else we do. We’ve become more familiar with being media than being people.

What does impact mean to you? I may be wrong, but I don’t think you ever define it in the book.

It’s because everyone has a different worldview and so it means different things to everyone. At the end of the day, it’s getting the thing that you consider important to be noticed and be done. It could be starting a company and getting investors to your company, but for others it might just be getting an audience.