Why Social Media is Something Else

social media conversation
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.

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
Ari Herzog

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8 Comments on "Why Social Media is Something Else"


Guest
thebrokerlist
1 year 7 months ago

It is inspiring and to the point. It is like having a website, without any engagement. Just because you have a website does not mean you are engaging with the visitors.

Guest
Ari Herzog
1 year 7 months ago

What is a website? This blog is a website. Facebook is a website.

Websites are fine in and of themselves. It's what you do with it that counts.

Guest
b2brookeballard
1 year 7 months ago

Just wanna say how much I LOVED this! Excellent, amazing, fantastic post. :-)

Guest
Ari Herzog
1 year 7 months ago

Cheers. Hope you come back.

Guest
Angie M Jordan
1 year 7 months ago

Loved it! It's so true! Just being on the platform DOES NOT make it social! You actually have to be social (imagine that). Great post and great examples!
My recent post 5 Ways To Make Your Content Memorable

Guest
Ari Herzog
1 year 7 months ago

Glad you liked it Angie. It's sort of like writing a comment on a blog post than just reading without commenting.

Guest
@1to1Discovery
1 year 7 months ago

In other words, it's about communication. You're right. People get hung up on the tools and not what to do with them. Broadcasting isn't communication. Conversation and collaboration is where it's at.

Good article.

Guest
Ari Herzog
1 year 7 months ago

Conversation/collaboration is part of my point. Ideastorm is neither — but it has the potential for more good things than a Facebook thread.