Jay Baer presents a solid case why you and I may be thinking of different images when we use the term social media. If I asked 10 different people to define the term, I’d receive 10 different answers. Ditto if you asked 10 other people. Jay argues we should focus on other descriptors of using the social web, such as public relations, inbound marketing, and community branding instead.
We are killing social media, he writes:
In our zest and zeal, our warm embrace of the transformative power of social communication, we’ve thrown everything we can think of into a bucket, and slapped the “social media” label on it. Our natural desire for compartmentalization and shorthand has caused us to kill the value of “social media” as a descriptor.
You’ll perhaps remember that “social media” was originally coined to reference user-generated content. And our modern definition of “social media” still includes that component. Problematically, however, the “social media” moniker is now also used to describe a great many things, similar only in that they are online, and involve some form of interaction between customer and company.
The difficulty in telling your boss that social media isn’t a fad is magnified substantially by the fact that you and she may be looking at social media through entirely different prisms.
This is precisely why Kasey Skala and Rachel Kay disagree every PR official needs to use collaborative networking (is that an oxymoron?) sites like Twitter. Fact is, everyone has a different vision of what Twitter means.
They should take a cue from John Moore who is on the money why social media training is essential, recollecting a talk he gave to a roomful of business executives:
What struck me as I did my presentation and conversed with the audience was the fact that many of us are living in a world unto ourselves, far from the mainstream where people have never heard of people like Robert Scoble, Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang. When I mentioned these thought leaders to the audience, most people had no clue who they were. Now…. I do not favor building a country of devoted social media junkies but I do favor a society that understands the need to market their skills, their capabilities. Many of these people have no idea how to raise awareness of who they are much less why they might want to do so.
What if we stopped using the term, “social media?” What if we stopped using it today, right here and right now? I’ll start — but I need your help.
I’ve branded AriWriter for the past 18+ months as a place to offer strategies and tips on social media and online marketing. I suggest a new headline, away from “social media and online marketing.” But what to use in its place? Got an idea?