What are social media?This question comes up a lot in conversation. If you've been in a workshop with me or subscribed and received the no-cost ebook, The Eight Step Social Media Path, then you know that for me, social media is all about people having conversations online and sharing things they care about. The tools (technologies) are simply a means to an end.
Brandon Evans, CEO and founder of Crowdtap, posted to iMedia Connections discussing why the term social media is the worst term in social marketing (although I'm not suggesting this is so for prevention). The case is well made that social media is really about social technology. All too often we get this notion of having conversations online confused with talking at people telling them about our message, product, idea, -- informing them, educating them, etc. Social media isn't just another marketing communications channel but a place to connect with real people about the causes, issues, ideas, passions -- and yes products -- we care about. The conversational action of social technology gives us an opportunity to find, connect, build and serve our networks and the common good.
In my experience most of those who do not like or use social media have either been blocked from using it by their agency or organization OR they've misunderstood how to use social media communications technologies effectively or both. On the one hand, if you're not making meaningful connections and getting information and news you really want/need coming directly to you from people you value then its time for a social media makeover. On the other hand your job is to give (share) meaningful information (content) that gives people something to talk about. Do we need a name change too?
Brandon suggest we call it social technology. He says,
"It is the technology that has enabled people to message, comment, vote, blog, share, "like," tweet, vine, pin, check in, and view peer-curated content. It is social technology that enables marketers to listen, respond, test, crowd source, engage, connect, and collaborate with their customers."While I agree with Brandon on the description above, I'm not as comfortable with replacing social media with social technology. For me, I rather like social media communications technology or perhaps social communications technology.
What do you think?
When does the term "social media" get in the way of doing your work?
What term(s) helps you get past the roadblocks and obstacles in order to integrate and use social media communications in the prevention work you do?