Recipe Centipede: Six Ways to Not Innovate with Social Media


This morning, Jay Baer (someone whose writings and thoughts I enjoy), tweeted a link to Chris Street’s blog post, “Six Ways to Innovate with Social Media.” I gave it a quick looksee because I’m a fan of innovation and when Jay tweets things, it’s usually worth reading.

Here are six ways to use social media with innovation in mind:

1. Take an interest in other people – and pass on their content. It will get you noticed – the Law of Attraction. It really does work: these people will notice you back, in time, and reciprocate.

2. Take risks – be authentic, speak with your actual voice on social media platforms. Get the vibe of your business or Agency out there: let people know what working with you looks like, feels like.


6. Stop talking and start listening – too many Agencies (PRs are the worst culprits) are so busy shouting about how brilliant they are, and how many industry (navel-gazing) awards they’ve won, they forget the audience. Less broadcasting, more listening please.

This is all really solid, useful advice, but am I the only one who thinks it isn’t particularly innovative on its own?

In contrast to the definition of innovation given by the author, it’s all good advice that’s not really new or contrary to established social media norms.

The info above, rather, is probably more useful in laying down the groundwork for innovating in your social media use.

Truly understanding what your business, cause or passion is about and really listening to & engaging with the folks you hope to reach, hopefully, will be the key to pushing through merely common sense principles to get to the real innovation in your social media use. Those are what the above pieces advice are helpful with – the groundwork to start with.

In my opinion, a far more useful blog post with regards to innovation is Chris Street’s post, “How to Understand Social Media: Watch Cats” –

In that post, Street takes his observations of something common to his daily life and extracts lessons that can be applied to his (and our) social media use.

For true, organic innovation in social media use, there probably needs to be something interesting or innovative about what you do (even if it’s just your passion behind it), followed by a way to translate that into interesting and engaging social media usage.

The New York Neo-Futurists are a great example of that.

They are the New York branch of the Neo-Futurists of Chicago and are a theatre ensemble made up of writers, directors and performers dedicated to creating new works that are innovative, irreverent, thoughtful, funny and smart. Their Twitter account (@nyneofuturists) reflects those values in its voice, tone and content of their tweets. Going one step further, they’ve actually incorporated what they do on stage (to some degree) into how they engage with social media.

The hallmark Neo-Futurist show is Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, a weekly whirlwind attempt by its performing ensemble to execute 30 short plays in 60 minutes. Audience members are given a menu of that week’s plays, each one numbered for convenience, and the order of performance is determined by audience members shouting out the number of the short play they’d like to see. With new performance pieces rotating in each week, a spontaneous running order and a limited amount of time, the whole experience is frantic, fun, and exhilarating.

Knowing that their audience is made up of people who can appreciate such creativity and are likely to be creative folks themselves, @nyneofuturists issues Twitterplay assignments every Tuesday:


Followers of their Twitter account are given a specific challenge to incorporate into their writing of a micro-play that can be contained in a single tweet. Twitterplay participants hashtag their micro-play and the next day, @nyneofuturists collects them and publishes them on their blog.

So, while the NY Neo-Futurists have other plays and performances beside TMLMTBGB, the show that’s their most popular and well-known is rooted in short, new works and you can see how that has inspired an innovative way for them to interact with their followers.

That is true innovation in social media use and it didn’t come from merely following a list of tips that are useful but mostly common sense.

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    jay baer Says:

    Excellent post. Really nice. Thanks for the kind words. I agree that Chris’ post wasn’t particularly long on innovation, but I try to not be bothered when the headline doesn’t match the post perfectly. I’ve been called out for the same thing, so I try to give some leeway.

    I love the micro play idea. First I’ve heard of that. Genius!

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