Social Media: Modern Day Gold Rush?

I just got back from several days in historical Skagway, Alaska – gateway to the Klondike Goldfields. I’m fascinated by the visceral history hubby and I are soaking up as we journey the country in our motorhome.

Travel definitely broadens the mind… and got me thinking about the amazing correlation between thecrazy gold fever more than a century ago and thesocial media frenzy of today.

[Pic: $5million in gold, taken at one of the museums in Skagway. Okay, it’s not real gold. :)].

Pioneers blaze trails through the new Web 2.0 and 3.0 worlds. Developers create incredible new applications on the bleeding edge of technology. Early adopters flood new platforms. And hundreds of thousands of hungry prospectorsstampede platforms like Facebook and Twitter in search of their own stash of “GOLD.”

Gold! Gold! Gold! …but only a few make it

Gold was first discovered in the Klondike way up in Yukon, Canada on August 16, 1896 by George Washington Carmack and two Indian friends. They set in motion one of the most memorable events in history when they returned to Seattle, WA to announce their discovery and the headlines read, “Gold! Gold! Gold!

By 1897, one hundred thousandprospectors stampeded toward the Klondike Goldfields, via Skagway or nearby Dyea. Men (and a few women) from all over the world from all professionsabandoned their families, homes and jobs and risked life and limb completely stricken with gold fever. They endured intense hardship and grueling conditions.

After hiking, boating and hauling literally a ton of goods for many long hard months, many stampeders got to Dawson City only to find most all of the land had been claimed and there was little gold just for the taking. They had to settle for meager jobs just to survive.

[Pic above: “the golden stairs” on the Chilkoot Trail. Men like ants climb the intense ascent to the summit, still with 500+ miles to go].

Of the 100,000 prospectors:

  • 30,000 actually made it to the goldfields,
  • 15,000 found gold,
  • and only 4,000 got rich and kept their riches.

And who were those 4,000? The ones who succeeded were the entrepreneurs and visionaries. The were the men and women who opened stores, made products, imported goods, created and sold services, and built roads and railways. They saw needs and filled them. They got creative, tapped into their natural talent and flourished.

What does all this have to do with social media?

Facebook is like a modern day goldfield: hundreds of thousands of new prospectors stampede onto the site daily riddled with gold fever. Some go crazy panning and panning on the river’s edge pushing and shoving others out the way. Some hardly bother to dip their toe in the water. Others have figured out the process and are truly flourishing. It’s the law of numbers: only a few will “make it” just like the entrepreneurs and visionaries of 1897-98.

Here’s the lesson: carve out your own niche on Facebook… and beyond. No one can be you. Tap into your unique talents and be that, not someone else you’re not. Strive to differentiate yourself, but remain authentic, transparent and true to your self. Find a need and fill it. Talk up your USP: unique selling proposition. Make sure you implement a profitable business model. Work with proven systems.

What’s your vision? What’s your business model? Your revenue model? Are you clear on EXACTLY how much gold (profit) you want to generate this year?! Precisely how close are you to that target?

For help with your answers to these questions, join me and Kevin Nations on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET.

Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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