The Misadventures of Social Media

Posted: November 16, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m slightly turned off these days when seeing or hearing about social media. At times, there’s so much abuse with the term that I’m left sitting, deciphering which exact component of social media a particular person is referring to.

A Google Alert of mine that tracks social media and analytics are cluttered with ‘Social Media Revolution’ and ‘Secrets to Social Media success’ taglines that promise instant knowledge and success.

This leads me to conclude that Social Media is so broad of a term that it can be easily misinterpreted. Some of the traditional journos who stepped up to debate about Political Reporting at Media140 are fine examples of this. A particular Political Editor from ABC stated that ‘social media has a problem with identity and accuracy’, ensuing a direct comparison between journalism and social media as processes, rather than viewing social networks as a new platform (like any other traditional method) and a potential supplement to the journalistic process. More views on this very topic can be found here.

Which is why MC Hammer was a breath of fresh air. I was sceptical at first about having an ex-Rapper with a history of bankruptcy and baggy pants preach to us on the merits of social media. Nothing groundbreaking came out of his address, but what clearly resonated was his passion for the topic as he shared his testimony on how social media has helped him with real time analytics to manage his personal brand.

MC Hammer in Oz

Source: Brisbane Times

Rather than remind us about the 10 C’s, he challenged and encouraged everyone in the room to find own niche as entrepreneurs in our fields. And unlike some presenters, he demonstrated knowledge beyond Twitter when he put his money on Augmented Reality as the engine behind future apps.

Sure, he’s not a scholar at the topic. But who is? Every human being has the capability of engaging in online communities, setting up an account and carving out value of their own, be it passive or active. Deriving from this are 2 little thoughts for the day:

  • Be precise with terminology. Online communities (your immediate group of friends/connections online), social networks or interactive channels (eg. Twitter and Facebook) are some ways of achieving this
  • Be precise with making social media (or interactive networks) useful for you. It is by nature versatile. There is the customer service angle, extracting insights for product development and brand identity. More on this is in an earlier post of mine and another from Amber at Radian6.

Some cool references that talk to the topic at hand:

  • Jeremiah Owyang speaks about Social Colonisation for 2009: online experiences that are pervasively social. This is pretty much on the money. The future sees an elevated role of communities all round defining and driving the agenda for businesses
  • ReadWriteWeb, on getting down to the grassroots of figuring out how using communities can help with deriving business value and addressing concerns
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