It is an interesting time for social media. Fifteen years ago bulletin boards and forums were the only platforms available. Three to five years ago blogs, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook were carving out a niche. This week Google announced Buzz which was added to the internet social landscape along with Twitter, Side Wiki, Wave, SlideShare, Vidler, Vimeo, UStream, Ning, MyBlogLog, FriendFeed, etc.
The entire web is getting more social by the second and user generated content is king.
Social media is still looked at as a fad by some, a necessary business tool with unproven value by others and a deeper way to discover great people to have great relationships with by millions. Marketers and PR folks are racing to figure out how to use the tools, but are mostly using old school tactics and ignoring the strategy needed for long term gains.
A handful of companies are actually using social media to authentically deliver better customer service, listen to people and make their businesses and bottom lines better. A mountain of critics who don’t use or understand social media are still ignorantly claiming that it’s stupid because it’s just people announcing when they go to the bathroom. (Note to self – don’t criticize what I don’t understand. And definitely don’t do it as if I have a clue about what I’m talking about or I’ll look like an idiot.)
The revolution in communication is being ignored while the focus is on the revolutionary technology. After the mainstream called social media stupid for five years, the pendulum swung to claiming that it’s the new great hope for advertising, marketing and PR. Now we are now making our way to the middle. This is where we start to realize that daily use of social media is like daily use of a cell phone or a car. It’s just part of how we live today.
Websites have become media properties (which most have not realized yet), publishing is now dominated by individual passionate influencers, and social media is lubricating a massive transition from top dogs having power to passionate participants creating what matters to the public.
In five years the term social media may fade away because we’ll wake up to realize that: 1.People are inherently social (well over 75% of your day is spent communicating with other people), and 2. All media has become social (even CNN and newspapers use blogs, Twitter, etc. to connect with viewers and readers).
Calling media ‘social media’ is like calling water ‘wet water’. The more you use it, the more you’ll live it and the more connected, tuned in and turned on you’ll be.