What I learned about social media from Steve Jobs 2


Steve Jobs wasn’t a close personal friend. Rather, I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading his biography lately. It’s a big beast of a Steve Jobsbook that I might not have had the time to read had I not had many hours to spare when my daughter was in the special care unit at Homerton Hospital….premature babies sleep a lot, and so I spent many an hour beside Ava’s bed reading about Steve Jobs – sometimes to myself, and sometimes aloud to Ava while other parents could be heard reading fairy tales to their children in the various languages of all the nationalities present in the ward.

Steve & social?

Beyond various mentions of Facebook, there is no real coverage of any thought or comment Steve Jobs might have had on social media.

What’s inspired this post is a slightly more abstract theme mentioned throughout the book, a concept familiar to me but one I hadn’t seen identified and explored at such length before.

It’s best described with a quote (from Jobs himself) that appears close to the end of the biography:

Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place. There are a lot of people innovating, and that’s not the main distinction of my career. The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves. In fact of some the best people working on the original Mac were poets and musicians on the side. In the seventies computers became a way for people to express their creativity [pages 567-8].

I like to think about computers helping people to express their creativity, and I couldn’t help but to think that social media has simply been an extension of this. For me, social media is the intersection where technology enables us to create amazing content, and it caters perfectly to those of us who embrace new technology as a means of getting across creative ideas. 

The intersection & content marketing

I often write about the relationship between content marketing and social media, and I have lately made a point of exploring the origins of the relationship as a way of explaining why the two are so complimentary. However, I think Steve’s “intersection” explanation (while not originally intended for social media) describes the relationship in the best way.

As marketers, more and more we’re going to find ourselves at this intersection where content must meet social media, and more and more, we’re going to have to find increasingly creative ways to deliver our ideas – be it via savvy blog posts, well-timed tweets, cleverly distributed white papers, recorded webcasts or even live webinars.

The intersection is the perfect launchpad for unique, engaging content marketing and for those who are creatively inclined, it’s an obvious starting place to use social media within a content marketing plan.

Thank you Steve

The world has a lot to thank Steve Jobs for, and I am very glad I took the time to read the biography as his passion for both art and technology led me to really re-examine my passion for social media. Even though the book is not dedicated to social media, I’d urge all digital marketers to read it as Steve had a huge impact on digital content distribution and computing history.

Beyond all this, I guess I have a bit of a soft spot for the biography as it’s one that traveled with me to the hospital and back many times over three weeks, and one that soothed my daughter to sleep over many long summer afternoons. Fairy tales….meh – Ava will take a good bio any day!

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2 comments

  1. great read. I hope your daughter is doing better now.

    I started reading this biography last year when it came out. The novelty of reading about steve jobs wore off just as fast as the novelty of using my ipad as an e reader did. I sold it soon after and didn’t think of the book since.

  2. She is doing great thanks Anton. Thanks for your comment The book was extremely granular to the point where it became exhausting at times, and many times I thanked my lucky stars I’ve never had to work with someone quite like him! iPad e-reader..pants! I must say I like my Kindle though – wish I’d had that heavy volume on the Kindle instead of a hardback!

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