Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… WTF Is Social Media?

Social media is…. A blog, twitter, facebook, YouTube, digg, reddit, and more. Is it really?! The continued debate of what social media truly is has raged on for the past year or more. People, Companies, and Brands are jumping all over the bandwagon as a must have new channel of marketing. Social media is this.. it’s that.. it’s…. Seriously people, grow up and listen to yourselves!!!

We’ve been in this debate of what social media really is now for the past year or two. Many businesses and corporations are caught up on the open transparency of social media and the danger that technology is now presenting in terms of privacy. That is one major element, but the other element is that many people view these new advances in social networks as a technology medium to creating a new channel of marketing. In all honesty, social media is the most overused word in the history of the Internet for the past 10 years.

I hate the term social media! Mr. Unmarketing himself say’s it perfectly “It’s called talking!!!”

Why can’t we as human beings be able to talk as part of our business? That is after all how we sell product. Why have we not been able to get over the fear of creating conversation around our brand? For years, word-of-mouth has been one of the number ways of purchase decisions, yet we’ve never been able to hold such public conversations with our customers until now. So what is the biggest challenge facing businesses to understand “talking”?

So if social media is “talking”, then why am I not a talking consultant? I guess that’s a little too simplified for business purposes. So my definition of social media does not involve the term “social media” at all. In fact, I call it “digital communications”.

Digital communications is:

“A communication system with multiple channels of online conversations designed to engage in online conversations for driving offline engagements.”

Digital communications is simply an evolution of communications over thousands of years. From lights flashing in the sky and smoke signals to Alexander Graham Bell’s Telephone inventionand Guglielmo Marconi’s radio telegraph system to TV and finally the Internet. Our communication systems have simply gone from a vague mass and non-relevant system to a mass complex system that allows for one-to-many and one-to-one personable relevant conversations.

Now that we have technology that allows us to have one-to-many and one-to-one personable or relevant conversations, we’re freaking out because the conversations are immediate and constant. The ability to communicate by phone, text, tweet, or post has allowed for constant conversations over multiple channels creating a sense of lunacy in immediate and obsessive responses. This is where digital communications as a system will sort itself out in terms of applicable usage in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of social media? Do you like the term digital communications better?

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