It’s spring in Minnesota. So we hauled out our four year old’s bike and spent some time with her revisiting the basics, like…
Don’t look down at your feet. Look ahead at the sidewalk.
Don’t pedal backwards unless you want to stop moving.
Don’t run into the back of mommy’s heels. That hurts….A lot.
Afterwards, we set out for a spin around the block.
By the time we’d gotten half way around, she snapped into the groove of it and suddenly flew off ahead on her own.
And, I freaked out.
What if she got hit by a car coming out of the alley?
What if she forgot how to use her brakes and tumbled over the handlebars?
What if a ravenous dog ran out of a yard and just upped and ate her?
And then I took a deep breath and remembered, “Oh yeah…this is what’s supposed to happen.”
It’s not possible to steer my daughter’s bike for her. She has to do that herself. And, sooner or later, she’s going ride that thing off into her adolescence.
And I was reminded at that moment of all the companies I’ve talked to lately who are freaking out about social media.
These companies have their own precious offspring – a message, reputation, product or game plan that they’ve invested lots of time and attention in crafting, pruning and polishing.
And then they stick this precious artifact online into a social environment and it just takes off down the street.
Yeah…all these things could happen to any company that uses social media as a marketing tool.
(Just like a gigantic Rottweiler could chomp my kid’s arm off while she’s tooling around the block.)
Either way, you’ll never know until you let go of those handle bars.
Like any caretaker, I’ll never stop worrying about my daughter, no matter how many years I watch her pedal off ahead of me.
But, I also know that the fear of watching her ride away is always followed by the magic of watching her return – a girl forever changed by her freedom.
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The Social Cyborg blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at www.kaneconsulting.biz.
I’m a consultant, strategist, author, educator & speaker with more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications. I’m passionately curious, fairly sassy, kinda dorky and seriously good at what I do.