Before I go on, can someone please move this 800 lbs gorilla off of me?
The term “Social media” enters at least one conversation or traditional media story every single day in my life. The funny part is, of all these conversations I can’t remember a single one that attempted to define what social media is. As pervasive as Facebook and platforms like it are, they are still brand new communication tools to the business community. Learning how to use social tools for business can offer competitive advantages but applying traditional tactics to has proven to be problematic.
Gaining a deeper understanding of what social media is, is one way to help us bridge the gap between traditional (the brand claims what they are) and social (the community of users decide what the brands are) business.
For the sake of creating a conversation that helps to clarify what social media is, I’d like to offer my opinion. Before I do that, I need to define what social media is not.
What Social Media Isn’t
Describing social media as a platform like Facebook is like saying that hockey is shooting a puck into a net. While it may be true that scoring on a net is a part of hockey, it’s not a very complete definition of the sport.
Secondly, unlike The Tragically Hip’s killerwhaletank, socialmedia is not one word. This is a good place to begin our understanding by breaking down the phrase “socialmedia” into two parts.
Social can be defined as a gathering of people meant to promote companionship, a sense of community and collaboration.
Is the plural form of medium. A medium is a substance (such as air, people, light, paper, Internet) through which something else is carried or transported on.
Drum roll please.
My definition of Social Media
Social Media is any substance, space, person or platform that hosts and forges a community of like-minded individuals who are drawn together by the frictionless exchange of emotions and ideas.
In a business sense, social mediums could be further clarified as any place where consumers gather to talk about your brand. That includes both the physical spaces (instore, events) and digital platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Review sites etc). These places merely play host to content; the sentiment of which can be good or bad depending on the brand experience you create for clients.
What do you think? Want to Play Along?
Great! Here’s how you play. Leave a comment below on one of two things.
1. Write your own definition of social media in the comment box below. Or…
2. Write a question in the comment below that you’d like me to ask Alexandra Samuel, Chris Brogan, Julien Smith or Peter Shankman that relates to bridging the gap between traditional and social media.
At noon on Tuesday May 8th, 2012 I’ll declare a winner from the best question or definition left on this post. The winner will win a $425 ticket to see Alex Samuel, Chris Brogan, Julien Smith and Peter Shankman speak at MRUShift in Calgary on May 10. To win, you have to be able to pick up the ticket in person from me by the end of day on Tuesday May 8th. That way, you’ve got time to convince a friend to buy a ticket to join you on May 10 at MRUshift.
MRUshift 2012 is Mount Royal University’s day long conference designed to help businesses bridge the gap between traditional and social media. MRUshift will host four of the biggest minds in social media today.
Chris Brogan – Cultivating Visibility: How to Amplify the Human Digital Channel
Alexandra Samuel – IRL: In RealLife
Peter Shankman – The Next Revolution Will Occur in Your Pocket
Julien Smith – The Adaptation Imperative
For a summary of these talks and a schedule of the day click here.
Now its your turn to let ‘er rip! I’m excited to hear what you have to say!
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