Moving On from Social Media


Let 2013 be the time it ends.

I’m sick of social media and I’m sure most of you are, too. It’s done, it’s old and it’s out of touch with modern life.

Giving clients a social media strategy used to make agencies and clients look smart, now it just makes us look pathetic. Social media is nothing more than a buzzword, a security blanket, an emperor with no clothes.

I’m not saying social media isn’t important – of course it is. All I’m saying is the definition no longer makes sense. The public has moved on while we cling to a world of “10 Tips for Effective Content Marketing” listicle bullshit. Seriously, I just made that headline up yet look what I found.

When all media is social, there is no more social media. That’s not just some pithy quote for one of those stupid ribbons you get at social media conferences, like “Byte Me” or “Social Media Douchebag.” Recognizing that all media is social is the truth no one wants to face. But continuing to pretend that social media is something separate from “traditional” communications, internal or external, is just ignorance on a Google-like scale.

All media is social (it’s about people). All media is earned (it’s about attention.) All media is online (and it’s offline, too.)

The only reason there is still a line between “social” media and “traditional” media is because marketers like us insist on drawing the damn thing, despite the fact that nobody outside our insular industry cocoon cares.

People don’t see ads, press releases, Facebook updates, “brand journalism” or “branded entertainment” – they just see media. They talk about it and they share it. They see right through us and directly into whether a brand is saying something or just selling them something.

Yes, “social media” also refers to technology platforms like Facebook and YouTube, but that distinction is a bunch of crap too. A piece of technology isn’t any more social than a tree stump. People make technology social, period.

E-mail and Listserves were “social” media long before Twitter was in diapers. Tools like Facebook and WordPress simply allowed people to record and save their conversations in a public setting vs. being relegated to local hard drives. If doing this makes blogs or Facebook more social, then yes, I agree, but that doesn’t make them the only social media in town.

We need to move forward and catch up with the public. We’re part of the public too, after all, try as we might to pretend we’re different or know any better.

Let’s get on with doing great work and stop worrying whether our media programs are social, traditional, earned, paid, owned or shared. Let’s focus on our clients’ business goals, not their Klout scores.

If we do our job, all of our media programs will be social – I mean, in 2013, how can they be anything else?

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