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We’ve launched a few social media programs lately. The whole process has been very influential on my functional vocabulary. I can’t say I’ve learned new words, but I sure use words routinely I never thought I would. Like blog platform. And micro-site. And RSS feed (about which, I understand Facebook is pretty persnickety). I remain unimpressed, even as I have become a bit more aware of Twitter, tweets, tweet deck, and hash tags. But the word that rules the social media lexicon, at least around here, is “Like”.

It’s kind of funny. For the first time since High School, I find myself in a position to be evaluated on how many people like me. Now, I’m a pretty likeable guy. People say I’m empathetic. I can tell a joke. I can take a joke. I can be snide, but I usually cut the impact with a bit of self deprecation. It’s been a long time since I have worried about how many people liked me (to tell the truth, I have always been much more concerned with how well I was liked by a few people).

Is 54 likes good after a day? Is 67 good after five days? Is it above average to double the number of “likes” in one month? Would you like me, please? Could I have a copy of your class picture? Would you sign my yearbook?

We’ve had a few discussions lately about “likeability.” Serious. A roomful of grown-ups, sitting around a conference table, talking about what will make people “like” us, and why. Pretty pictures? Lots of pictures? Happy news? Helpful, relevant news? How-to lists? Pictures of me? Pictures of people I know? Pictures of me with people I know? Video? Video, hmm. Now what would my mother say, if I needed to show videos of myself in order to make people like me?

My mother would say, “People who know you like you. Be yourself. Let people get to know you. The people who should like you will. Everyone else doesn’t matter.” Looks like Mumsy was a marketer. That thought actually encompasses the cutting edge, social media notions of…authenticity, spontaneity, organic growth, self-selection, opt-in, managed expectations. It also illustrates the Jim Collins hedgehog concept.

So there it is. If you wanna be liked, be likeable.

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