You may not be interested in social media, but social media is interested in you.
That's what I've been telling anyone who will listen for a while now.
As The Cluetrain Manifesto points out, markets are conversations. People have always talked about products and services and organizations. The only difference is that the Internet has enabled the recording of those conversations and made them easy to join or eavesdrop on by anyone in the world.
The Cluetrain Manifesto was posted in 1999, before anyone was talking about social media.
In the intervening nine years, it has become breathtakingly easy talk to anyone about anything through MySpace and Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, or blogs and Twitter.
Organizations are beginning to understand that they need to join the conversation. But because the environment is fundamentally different from the landscape within which businesses have ever operated, it can be scary as hell.
If you're unfamiliar with social media, it takes a lot of courage to join the conversation.
Punch Pizza was in the process of getting their web site built when they came across a blog post by local pizza blogger Aaron Landry that was mildly critical of Punch in his post for prohibiting him from taking a photograph of their pizza oven.
Landry's post led them to Flickr and they realized that many people were posting photography they'd taken at Punch Pizza locations and the quality of those photos were striking. They even found a Punch Pizza fan club on Facebook.
If your product or service is great, then your customers are likely to fans as well. And the thing about fans is they try and convince other people to be fans.
Punch has a great product and as the Flickr photos and Facebook fan club illustrate, they have fans. Embracing and encouraging those fans is word of mouth gold.