What Proctology Exams Teach Us About Social Media

proctology exam

By {grow} Community Member Chris Reimer

As Hurricane Sandy swept across the Eastern seaboard, killing hundreds of Americans, racking up billions of dollars in damage, and wreaking havoc on millions of lives, certain intrepid bloggers thought it a wise idea to write about “What Hurricane Sandy can Teach us About Social Media.”

Ripping an event from the headlines and attaching “lessons for social media” to it is a common and cheap way to develop content. But sometimes I have to wonder if these bloggers are even thinking.  Comparing social media to a deadly hurricane when so many people are suffering? Do we really need that?

Original blog post topics are hard to come by (I don’t know how the Mark Schaefers and Mitch Joels of the world do it). And it sure is tempting to write about what the latest movie, celebrity or news event “teaches” us about social media. But let me state this  plainly — Using a devastating hurricane superstorm to draw attention to your blog is a desperate attempt at attention and a breach of good taste.

Yes, we need to keep learning about social media. But I’m not sure we need a superstorm to happen upon these truths.  If you believe this is the only way you can get through to people, perhaps you just need to quit now and board up the business (I guess it is easy to do hurricane analogies).

With so many of these ridiculous “social media is like …” posts out there, I did a little brainstorming to figure out the most ridiculous analogy to social media I could think of. Here it is. Proctology Exams.

So, in tribute to all these dumb blog posts comparing social media lessons to something in the news, I submit to you “The Top 8 Things Proctology Exams Teach us About Social Media:”

1. Everyone’s afraid to get started. No one wants to go to a proctologist, even though statistics show cancer detection and prevention saves lives. Companies are similarly afraid of jumping in on social media, even though statistics show that adoption is accelerating, ROI is provable and communication as we know it (TV, radio, print) has been terribly disrupted.

2. You have to fully undress. No one likes to be fully exposed. This is complete vulnerability. Someone else is in control, and a host of embarrassing things could befall you.

3. Abdication of consciousness. During the holiest of holy examinations, you will probably be anesthetized. “Just knock me out and get it over with.” This sounds quite similar to the relegation of all social media responsibility to an intern – “I don’t have time and I don’t want to know what’s going on. You’re young, and this is a young person’s game–just handle it.”

4. You better use the correct tools. A rubber glove, social media monitoring software. Make sure you tweet from the right account, and watch where you’re going with that finger… “MOOOON RIVER.“

5. It takes a sensitive touch. One false move and assholes are inflamed.  I think that is self-explanatory.

6. You might be afraid to discover the truth. Upon examination, sometimes you find an inflammation, or worse.  In the wrong circumstances, social media provides amplification of a problem that’s already there. Your company is completely unprepared and unable to spring forth to bigger and better things. Social media will lay bare that truth.

7. The procedure sometimes leads to much more. A proctology exam sometimes precedes a full-blown colonoscopy. Neither is terribly fun. If social media reveals inherent, systemic problems with your business, you might need a full brand refresh and messaging platform overhaul.

8. Sometimes you need to go beyond manual.  Doc uses his finger, but sometimes a proctoscopy is done instead where a device called a proctoscope is used to examine the “cavity.”  Similarly, social media can be done manually, but sometimes you may wish to employ a device or series of devices like Hootsuite, Sprout Social or Radian6.

Well, suddenly I’m feeling a bit green. What say you? What did I miss? And oh yes … tune in next week for my post on what Pauly Shore teaches us about social media.

chris reimerChris Reimer (@RizzoTees) is VP of Social Media at Falk Harrison

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