Fill in your analogy. Really, comment below if you would be so kind as to what describes social media the best for you.

As I sat in a beach chair looking out over Newport Beach this past weekend defeated in my first attempt to learn to surf it dawned on me how similar learning to surf is to learning how to successfully use the social media tools out there. Sorry, I’m a geek at my core so these thoughts come to me on my day ‘off’.

Here are a few of the similarities (according to me):

  1. There is a culture that has to be learned. You can’t just jump in to the water and know it without spending some time in it. However, if you can spend some time, do what needs to be done, you too can learn and be successful – and possibly even enjoy it!
  2. You always run the risk of being ‘that guy’ (which I think I was while trying to learn to surf) who just has no clue and is oblivious to what is happening around you. That person usually ends up thrashed by the wave or run over by a seasoned veteran and likely discouraged.
  3. It gives you such an advantage to have someone who has been doing it for a while teach you first. As with anything, you can teach yourself, but sometimes it helps to get that little nudge forward.
  4. There are so many different types of tools to use to surf but sometimes you’re not ready for certain ones – you have to build up to a short board, for instance.
  5. In that same vein, bigger guys need bigger boards. That could be viewed as a wider base to work with or a bigger technology behind what you’re doing.
  6. The waves are largely self-governed. If you don’t know the rules, don’t worry, you will be told either because you ask or because someone knocks some sense into you.
  7. You can have all the gear/tools/boards/suits but in reality have no idea what you’re doing and end up just looking like an idiot.
  8. You can’t learn to surf by reading books on it. Get in the water!

I could probably keep going but would love to hear some other responses…


With over a decade of experience, I have managed online marketing for a wide range of industries including biotech, high-tech, financial, higher education, non-profit, manufacturing, hardware providers, and startups. My specialty is helping business make the right turn with their online efforts focusing on lead generation and analytics.

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