Take a look at this photo taken with an iPhone 3G, one of the old models that can’t even run iOS5.

Photos

Now take a look at this photo shot with a Nikon D90 with a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens on it.

Photos

They’re both lens cap photos (or in the case of the iPhone, intentionally shot with my thumb over the lens). Whether the camera costs nothing or thousands of dollars, if you lack the skill to use the gear, quality and cost of your gear is irrelevant.

Now let’s contrast with this photo taken from the Flickr Cameraphone group by FedeSK8:

Photos

At a recent event, someone repeatedly commented to me that my camera took incredible photos. No, it didn’t, otherwise all those times I left it on the table in front of me, it would have been shooting and I could have retired to the bar instead. The camera certainly helped, but in the end, it’s the skill of the photographer that makes the gear powerful, not the other way around.

This week, I’m keynoting the UoT Internet Marketing Conference and this is one of the key points of my talk. Social media doesn’t make us more powerful, more effective, or more profitable. Social media is just intangible “gear”. What makes us more powerful, more effective, and more profitable are our skills in using the gear that we have. The sooner you get beyond the toolbox, the sooner you will focus on what’s going to move the needle for you and get you the results you want.


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