Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Social Should Drop The Media

+ When the idea of Social Media came on the scene from an advertising and marketing perspective, it was seen as a new medium. Media is defined as "the means of communication that reach or influence people widely." So, I guess I can see why the word "media" was tacked on to it. But, we don't call out other media in a same way...it's not newspaper media, TV media or digital media. So, why are people hung up on using it with social?

Social really has nothing to do with paid media. Yes, yes, it can, but not exclusively, so that's a point of confusion for some people.

Social is all about being social. Not media (paid or otherwise).

Dictionary.com has the following definitions for social:
1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.
2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.
4. living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation: People are social beings.
5. of or pertaining to human society, especially as a body divided into classes according to status: social rank.
6. involved in many social activities: We're so busy working, we have to be a little less social now.
7. of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community: social problems.
8. noting or pertaining to activities designed to remedy or alleviate certain unfavorable conditions of life in a community, especially among the poor.
9. pertaining to or advocating socialism.
10. Zoology . living habitually together in communities, as bees or ants. Compare solitary ( def. 8 ) .
11. Botany. growing in patches or clumps.
12. Rare. occurring or taking place between allies or confederates.
13. a social gathering or party, especially of or as given by an organized group: a church social.

The first two definitions, and last one as a noun, are the ones that are most relevant. It's about connecting and bringing people with like interests together.

So where does the media part of this phrase fit into this? It doesn't really. Sure, there is using social networks as a earned media platform, and use of digital (and even traditional) media to drive traffic to those places in social networks where brands are hanging out. But that does not justify using the word media to encompass the whole of Social.

I really would love to see the evolution where we start calling it "Social". It's much more inclusive of the larger array of items that comprise it. It just makes sense.

Will 2011 be the year we make the switch? I hope so.

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