I’d rather go to the dentist than get into social media

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As soon as I bit that piece of candy I knew it was trouble. Yes, I chipped a tooth and that meant a trip to the dentist. The process of getting a crown wasn’t that bad though. Then again, I used noise cancellation headphones to drown out the sound of the drill. I also asked the dentist to use both Novocaine and Nitrous Oxide. In short, you could say that I really didn’t want to be there. So where does the phrase …

I’d rather go to the dentist than [ you fill in the blank ]”

… come from? What type of task or obligation is so hideous that you’d rather subject yourself to a root canal than deal with the event? A simple search uncovered a few examples:

· According to research from an insurance company 39% of women would rather go to the dentist than talk to their spouse about their daily finances.

· According to a travel survey 54% would rather go to the dentist than sit in the middle seat on an airplane.

· 40% of Americans think filling out income tax forms is worse than going to the dentist.

· According to an HR survey, one in eight managers would rather go to the dentist than complete performance appraisals.

· According to a technology company survey 40% said they would rather go to the dentist than deal with poor customer service.

I’ve recently consulted with some organizations whose senior executives suggested that they would rather go to the dentist than get into social media. They want to brush off the very thought of linking, tweeting, liking and blogging with their customers. Additional conversation revealed that they are putting off their social hygiene due to their perception of the personal risk and time involved. Many executives are very cautious about entering public forums and taking risks by allowing readers the opportunity to comment on, or even challenge their point-of-view. And while social media platforms offer the opportunity to create a fascinating subject-matter expert persona; who has time to be fascinating?

I can’t argue that an executive’s blog post will not go unchallenged, and it does take time to create meaningful content, let alone be fascinating. But at the end of the day social media represents one of the most significant changes in consumer media behavior in history. In short, that means if you want to be a relevant marketing executive you need to start taking some risks and carving out some time.

Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.

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