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Edelman Digital: Resetting Social Media – Not Inconceivable  

2010-04-02 01:35:55|  分类: 新媒体公关 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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By Dave Levy
Edelman Digital, Washington D.C.





socialmedialandscape

Jessi’s Friday Five about words that need to be removed from the social media lexicon had me thinking about one other term I think we need to press reset on: “social media” itself. It’s not that I’m against socially-constructed forms of communication – trust me, I love them – it’s that, in true Inigo Montoya fashion, “I do not think it means what you think it means.

I don’t see the term as a cover-all phrase to describe the digital space, which I’m afraid it’s slowly become. “Social Media” too often gets used like a Kleenex to catch everything of the online media world. After nearly a decade of two-point-oh technologies, seemingly any type of written, audio or video content that is online got slapped with the “social” label, and that’s definitely not true. There is still a large amount of content in the digital space that is controlled not by organic conversation on social networks, but in the fashion of traditional media. That is to say, there is still plenty of one-way communication out there.

My bigger issue is how thinking about this media in terms of “being social” sometimes overshadows the fact that networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are, first and foremost, communication platforms. No matter how communal and how personal social media purports to be, it is fundamentally media. It sounds boring, and it seems like a conflict to how we perceive social networking, but those actions can be stripped of their relationship capital to be nothing more than broadcasted messages and visuals.

As I’m beginning to find out in some test research, the level of perceived relationship value seemingly has less of an impact to predict usage than other factors, mostly trailing media consumption habits. I’m currently looking into my own social grid, and there is a trend across those contacts of mine who have become the top contributors to my photo banks on Facebook or who send the most replies my way on Twitter. In the least scientific way possible, I tell you the following: there isn’t a lot of evidence to indicate that those contacts are my most “friendly,” but I can absolutely tell that they are among the most prolific media creators I know. The barrier to posting a photo on Facebook is not being around me long enough offline to get my good side: it’s having a camera and a propensity to publish.

I believe that the baseline of users sees “social media” and gets distracted by the social part. That conclusion translates into treating these types of publishing in interpersonal ways, thinking that what we create is a one-to-one or one-to-small-group manner. What is actually happening is that what we are constructing a personal broadcast based on what we choose to publish around our social contacts. We are building media by being social and not the other way around.

In this trend, there is a very cool opportunity for companies to act in the same way. They can create their own stories by acting in that social manner, becoming media on their own. It’s imperative that organizations get out there and do both sides of the social network by listening. There is a lot to learn by recognizing those publishers and hear what they may be sharing within their circles of influence or even directly with the brand. This isn’t going to change, either – as the trend of organizational engagement continues, the publishing voice will also grow.

Consumers are already out there talking across their own social grid. Whether you’re there or not, it’s going to happen. So why not make it easy for people to talk with you instead of about you? That’s truly social media: information sharing that happens through your digitally based connections.

I’m going to lose this battle, I’m well aware of that. “Social Media” is catchy, easy to remember and it’s loosely accurate enough for it to remain around. As social networking and widely-available publishing tools evolve, maybe the next description will make me more at ease. Until then, I gladly accept anyone else on board the train out of the social media station.

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