There’s no Social Media

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Image courtesy of Swiss Miss

Dictionaries define media as a means of mass communication. Slapping a ‘Social’ in front of ‘Media’ doesn’t make it less of a means of mass communication. That’s why these boring debates about monetizing Facebook are pointless. And this mass communication mindset leads to dead brand pages on Social Networks with no engagement opportunities. Twitter profiles as RSS feeds. Or media departments being tasked to develop ‘social media campaigns’ because media belongs in media. 

Yeah, I know, it’s the Wild West out there: Everyone claims to be a Social Media expert – Strategists, Account Planners, Media Folks, Brand Managers. And so we end up with people being euphoric about 10,000 ‘friends’ of their brand. Or Twitteratis counting down to their 7,000th follower. In reality, this all makes no sense because they apply old metrics to a new reality. It’s questionable if marketers can move away from doing something to people and convert into a mediator role: Helping others with their social interaction. 

Who knows if Facebook and Twitter ever become profitable ventures. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. There’s a lot of data to be mined, new spread sheets to be created, data centers to be kept busy. All this data mining might be very insightful and help the balance sheet of these companies. Somebody will become rich.

But what these tools really do is make us visible to the world. The richness of this experience has nothing to do with numbers. It has to do with new forms of connections and interactions. With new ways to communicate with each other. A new form of humanity. 

Calling it Social Media makes it more vulnerable to the madness of targeting, relevancy and data centers. Let’s find new words for this experience. This is too important to let the vultures take over. Again.

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2 responses to “There’s no Social Media

  1. Uwe,

    It seems there’s a collective consciousness about this issue. I’ve seen several articles, posts and Tweets with people saying something very similar, including me even.

    It’s as if we’re deconstructing heretofore commonly accepted notions and looking at them much more closely to determine their efficacy.

    For example, in a recent post I asked the question, does social media have to be marketing or pr. In another I suggested social media is not a “channel,” but an environment.

    You go even more to the root and dissect the phrase “social media.”

    Is there such a thing as social media marketing? Is there even such a thing as social media? Maybe we’re waxing way too philosophical, but I think they are questions worth asking.

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