Social Media, Old Media, and the Professional Land Surveyor

Social Media, Old Media, and the Professional Land Surveyor

Yesterday I was doing my usual routine of checking into the various social media communities I frequent, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and I came across a link to an interesting forum post by the administrator of Land Surveyors United about why other surveying publications and sites will not link to Land Surveyors United. In general, Land Surveyors United feels it’s receiving a cold shoulder from the conventional media magazines and that its initiative to create a social network for professional land surveyors is being copied by one of them in particular. From my own personal experience, this is not at all surprising to me.

First, a little background

It is not surprising to me because of the first hand experience I had with one of the conventional media magazines that touts itself as social media and internet engaged, when in fact, as it turned out, they are really only interested in the appearance of building an online community and largely regurgitate their printed materials (which don't get me wrong, their magazine is very well done). With this media company (which isn’t POB, by the way) I discovered that they value the business of producing a magazine and selling advertising over that of improving our profession. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, after all business is business, what I found particularly disturbing was their absolutely disingenuous use of social media, not as a community building tool, but as a rather jaded attempt to rig the system.

You see, I joined a few groups this media company created on two well known social media sites, but as soon as I tried to join into the communities and discussions I was banished from the groups. In discussions with the media company’s group moderator I was told that I was being banished because they saw me, and this website, as competition. Whoa, since when did they buy the entire internet!

First, I pointed out to this person that the media company’s position was shortsighted, old-fashioned, counterproductive for both of us, and completely unnecessary. I then explained how this was a violation of the terms of service for both social media sites and even offered to be a passive participant, where I would just visit but post no links. I am, after all, a professional land surveyor and he, on the other hand, is not. He would hear none of this.

While a little disappointed, I really didn’t care and was more than willing to take the high road: I didn’t ban him and his media company employees from my social media groups. You see, I understand a little more than they do about social media. I understand that social media is about building relationships, building community, and that it’s about building people up, and not about tearing people down. I know that it is cliché, but a rising tide does lift all boats.

About Land Surveyors United

Land Surveyors United (LSU) is a global social network for professional land surveyors. Created just a few years ago, Land Surveyors United now has about 1000 registered members. LSU also identifies itself as “Earth’s First Land Surveyors Support Network”, and offers extensive online reference materials and equipment manuals. As a registered user you can connect with other professionals, create an extensive profile page, post blog posts, photos, videos and join in forums, groups, and more.

What prompted all of this was that Land Surveyors United discovered the Point of Beginning (POB) RPLS Bulletin Board was being retrofitted to more closely align with the new reality of social media. This new and improved site is still currently under construction and is in a beta release. Land Surveyors United, in the LSU Forum post I read, lamented on the fact that POB won’t link to Land Surveyors United and that the beta version of the RPLS Bulletin Board appears, to them, to be very similar to LSU in layout, features, and functionality.

Judge for yourself:

[Did you see how I did that… I purposely and happily gave you links that take you away from this site because I believe you will either benefit from going to these other sites, or need to go to these other sites, and I know that you will recognize the value you received from being in my community, so you will come back. It’s simple, now isn’t it?]

So, what have we learned from this?

Here are a few possible learning points:

  • It is a dog-eat-dog world, and as the arrogant media corporation man said to me when banished from their supposed "social media" groups, “it’s just business.” He’s right, it is just business. Just make sure you understand the business, and business environment, you’re in. Self deception is catastrophic.
  • Media is finally in the hands of the many, instead of in the hands of the few.
  • You can get your news and other media from many sources today. Take the time to understand what’s the driving force behind the information you’re getting?
  • In every business and industry, the rules of engagement are always changing, never faster than now with the internet, and many “conventional” companies, media or otherwise, are suffering because they’ve been slow to adapt to the new realities, like social media. Is your company ready to compete in today’s business and world realities?
  • Late adopters to new technologies and new paradigms will, by the very nature of the beast, always be running to play catch up. Can your company afford to be behind the times?
  • If we’re not building each other up, then we are tearing each other down. Competition applies differently to professionals. Yes, there is competition, we are in business after all, but we should never seek to gain an advantage at the professional expense and detriment to another. This is true for professional land surveyors, the profession of land surveying, and any media or company that engages to make a buck off of our profession.
  • Business, professionalism, profit, good citizenship, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, and having a positive and uplifting attitude do not need to be exclusive concepts of each other.

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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2 comments on “Social Media, Old Media, and the Professional Land Surveyor
  1. landsurveyor says:

    hit the nail right on the head Eric, as usual. I think it is pretty funny now that I’ve calmed down a little. Old Media is the New Fuggetaboutit

  2. surveyor says:

    a brilliant set of observations…very true and very close to home. its amazing how many websites are starting to spring up seemingly combining what looks very much to be a hybrid of Land Surveyors United and this site, Eric.
    Great observations! Keep up the great work…this post is a gem.

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