The real-time Web is all the rage right now, as you’ve probably heard. But I was reminded recently that real-time living gets short shrift these days.
I experienced it recently when I spent four days with my daughter after her baby girl – my first grandchild – was born. Dorothea slept, Dorothea ate, Dorothea cried, Dorothea had her diaper changed, Dorothea slept some more. You get the idea. Every moment was exquisite. Time slowed to a crawl. Time was marked by how many hours to the next feeding, to wondering if it was time for the next feeding, to rocking and swaying and swaddling when the baby was fussy. Dorothea is delicious in every way so we spent a lot of time just looking at her, awake or asleep.
I found myself reading my daughter’s parenting books, a few of which I recognized. Something new I picked up is that lactation experts are obsessed with what is called “the latch.” I’ll let you figure that out. Suffice it to say that if a baby doesn’t latch properly when she is nursing, it’s not good for the baby or the mother.
However, amidst these very tactical, very hands-on moments there was some strategic thinking going on. My daughter is a physician and can only take eight weeks off. She was already pondering what to do about a nanny or day care. What arrangement would be most cost efficient and yet provide the best outcome for Dorothea and my busy daughter and her husband? This new mom had to look at the bigger, long-term picture even while struggling to get enough sleep and stay on top of the simplest details.
If you’ve ever tried to think through a marketing plan, this may sound familiar. You understand how important each real-time moment is on the Web, whether it’s a Tweet, or a new post to your Facebook wall or a short blog entry. In order for these real-time tactics to take hold, you have to live in those moments. You need to be and sound authentic in what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Never matter that your long-term strategy is real-time customer service via Twitter or to grow a sizeable community of fans on Facebook in order to turn them into customers. What you do and how you do it in real-time profoundly affects the perception of your brand and ultimately the viability of your company.