Why Social Media is Something Else

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Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon via Compfight cc

Companies are fond of telling themselves that they need to get on social media. From the chief executive to the marketing assistant, it is a common belief that “creating a Facebook page” or “using Pinterest” are examples of social media that they need to get on because the year is 2013, and all of their competitors and clients are already doing it.

That is the myth.

If you think that Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even this blog are examples of social media, you’re extending the myth.

Social media is something else.

It’s much bigger than creating a page and asking for fans.

Every time Comcast, T-Mobile, and Dell reply to (prospective and current) customers, you witness social media.

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Every time corporate decisions, doctrines, and guidelines are crowdsourced by employees and not by C-level managers around a boardroom table, such as when the United States Army began asking soldiers to update field manuals via wiki software, you witness social media.

The Dell Ideastorm is a great example of crowdsourcing through the web. Next-Day delivery was launched by the company as a direct result of customers voting up an idea to offer it. Crowdsourcing through a website is a great example of media that is social.

This is the Dell Ideastorm.

When the federal government uploads datasets about every category possible and inspires developers to create useful tools such as See Click Fix and Energy IQ, you witness social media.

Anyone can create a Facebook page. It’s media but it’s not social media. Announcing your news, product launches, and the food you eat for breakfast is not social either. You have to go beyond broadcasts to be social.

You have to be social to use social media, otherwise you’re living a myth and merely using new media — and where’s the uniqueness in showing your adoption of new tools when others use those tools in not-so-new ways?

If you enjoyed reading my debut feature for SteamFeed, please add a comment below. I’ll be social and reply. Maybe we can have a conversation down there.

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Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog is a digital PR strategist living in northeast Massachusetts. He is the founder of Social Media Breakfast North Shore. He's been featured in many publications including TechRepublic, Poynter, CBS Moneywatch, and Bank of America'a blog.
Ari Herzog


Public policy geek. Leader of north shore networking groups about media and broadband.
@marciahofmann @CharlieShrem I thought this came from @Charliesheen - 53 mins ago
Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

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