So Not, So Very – What is Social?

People who visit my Facebook and Google+ pages know I have a propensity for using graphics and themes that revolve around the idea of items and/or actions being so “very” or so “not” social. It works well amongst my fans and it allows for sharing of educational information in an entertaining fashion.

There have been many posts that fall under those themes in 2012, by a variety of smart social individuals, so it got me thinking. What better way to round out 2012 and dive into 2013 than to try to get an understanding of what “social” means to those that engage in its practice on a daily basis? Those in the trenches, fighting the good fight to ensure social media marketing and social business remain valid, viable and valuable to our own endeavors and those of our clients.

photo credit: khalid Albaih via photopin cc
My opinion only carries the weight of my own convictions, so I put out a call for “definitions”. What does social mean to many of the members of my peer group?

This is what I got in reply:

Social to me is connecting with the world from the comfort of my home or on the go. Today’s lightning fast social world allows us to instantly talk with others creating the opportunity to enrich and entertain with the click of a button. I’ve met friends from all over the world with different levels of connection from light chat, to talking everyday to people I’ve met in person and even those I’ve worked worked with. Today’s social world is a rapidly changing sea of possibility and I love it! ~ Peggy Fitzpatrick

Being social is willing to meet other people, learn from them, laugh with them, eventually get emotional comfort or provide support. In short being social is what humans normally do in real life or online. ~Anne Egros

Social is a term to describe what us human have been doing for thousands of years – communicating and relating with each other. The “media” has simply allowed us to reach further and display who we are to a larger audience, more rapidly. Social means human relations on digital ground. ~Megha Rodriguez

To me, it means engaging with others in a meaningful way. Sharing information and being genuinely interested in what others have to share. ~ Carrie Chweirut

Social, to me, is about engaging with your followers, so it involves listening, as well as talking. The level of engagement isn’t much different than in real life, and runs the gamut from cocktail party convos all the way up to deep and serious debates. Social is what you make it! ~ Jennifer Hanford

My definition of social is being an interactive participant in a specific area or within a group of people. This requires building relationships with others over time and learning from those relationships. ~ Shannon White-Baker

So many definitions, all with slight variations and differing emphasis, but they have a common core focus. On relationship building and maintenance. Something that can so easily be forgotten or cast aside when we start crunching numbers and stop looking at the conversations, only focusing on the conversion. Yes, the conversion is vital to all of us. We are all making a living, but it can’t come at the detriment of the very conversations, sharing of ideas and building/maintenance of relationships that make social the marketing vehicle that we all got so excited about from the get go. When we fail to keep the “social” in our undertakings in social media marketing, we are failing to make use of the very force that drives this new addition to our marketing arsenal.


Mallie Hart
After a long career as a graphic artist, web designer and ghost writer, Mallie found her true calling when personal social media embarked on the path leading to social business. While she still gets busy with graphics, most of her creative energy is now directed to unique social media content creation, curation and cultivation. Her dual love of graphic design and social media requires her to research, write about and promote a wide variety of topics while staying true to brand integrity. A research junkie - she majored in medieval history, Mallie enjoys the opportunity to find an interesting angle on just about any type of business or industry niche. When she’s not busy with The Media Barista, Mallie has been known to devour books (several per week), careen over rocks and roots on her bicycle and seek out the newest, edgiest music; all while drinking a lot of coffee.
Mallie Hart

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