My mind was wandering the other day and I got to thinking about how SICK I am of the term social media. A lot of this frustration comes out of my long-held belief that Social Media is in fact a buzzword that describes very little about itself. Here’s the wikipedia definition of Buzzword. (I love this)
A buzzword (also fashion word and vogue word) is a vague idiom, usually a neologism, that is common to managerial, technical, administrative, and political work environments. Although meant to impress the listener with the speaker’s pretense to knowledge, buzzwords render sentences opaque, difficult to understand and questionable, because the buzzword does not mean what it denominates, yet does mean other things it ought not mean.
Buzzwords render sentences opaque? Does that describe the term social media? I think it does…
Here are some examples. A real estate agent tells you they sold 4 houses this month and got 2 new listings using Social Media. A business consultant says he gets half of his clients from Social Media sources. The CEO of a large manufacturer of consumer goods uses Social Media to connect with customers.
So, what’s the problem?
They all SAY the same thing, when in reality they might be EXECUTING very different strategies. Our realtor might be using Facebook to leverage referrals out of past customers, our business consultant might be blogging to win google searches so that new clients can find him, and the CEO might be running the company twitter account, letting consumers know that there is a face and personality to the corporation.
All these strategies are effective, but it somehow seems wrong to use one word to describe all of them. Here’s my challenge…
Spend a few weeks saying what you really mean. Don’t call it Social Media just because it involves your computer and an Internet connection.
Oh and by the way, here’s the wikipedia definition of Social Media, in case you were wondering.
Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content; it supports the human need for social interaction with technology, transforming broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal, political and business use. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).