Things I think I know about social media: March ’09

First, it’s all whitewater…

It’s the bleeding edge, a moving target, holy wars, show me the money, destabilizing technologies, cultural movements, tectonic shifts, paradigm shifts, innovation, future shock, unsustainable business models, and the demise of the buggy whip industry.

It’s all good.

There’s enormous opportunity in the whitewater. And costs are comparatively low. I am accomplishing my personal goals and the business opportunities seem so very, very obvious. It’s game changing stuff. Everyone can be published. And they can hear feedback from everyone who cares to offer it. As marketers we can categorize, and measure the interactions in anyway that is meaningful for our goals.

Social media is marketing

… and brand building, and customer retention, and PR, and market research, and customer service, and lots of other things that are valuable to marketers. (It’s other things too.)

Some bloggers, who claim clear social media expertise, take an emphatic position that social media is NOT marketing. They say it’s not a business channel, and certainly not “sales” in any way. That position stands out in my mental “idea follow list”. I intend to give it more consideration.

But to me, for business, these tools can so clearly help to reach the goals of integrated marketing communications, that I don’t yet understand the “It’s not marketing” position.

Twitter is valuable.

It is working, very nicely for me. Networking? Twitter rocks.  (And thank you so much for great posts you Charlotte twitterers.)

Relevant and authentic matters.

We all know this from “life”. And I knew it about social media before I got my current “opportunity” to study. We are all expert at choosing the people and opinions we choose to identify with and trust, over time. Trust, and human attention are available via social media. And they can be lost, too.

We must remember to value diversity of thought, experience and position.

This is the thing that I think I know, but wonder about the most. The web, and social media make it very easy to form, choose, and join communities of practice. These communities can self select into rigid, commonly held, and self reinforcing, sets of belief.

Of course, the opposite is true as well. I don’t have to look very far outside my community to find different ideas.

I mistrust cultures of politics. I love cultures of ideas. Social media interactions can promote a culture of politics and/or a culture of ideas. And both will flourish. But for me, ideas!

I’m going to read up today to better understand the idea some have that social media is not marketing. I am confident that there is some understanding I can gain from the idea that will be useful and enlightening.

Comments? Ideas?

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