It's helpful to call this new context the Social Era to emphasize a point: while in the industrial era, organizations became more powerful by being bigger, in the Social Era, companies can also be powerful by working with others. While the industrial era was about making a lot of stuff and convincing enough buyers to consume it, the Social Era is about the power of communities, of collaboration and co-creation. In the industrial era, power was from holding what we valued closed and separate; in the Social Era, there is another framework for how we engage one another — an open one.
Here's the simplest way to define the Social Era. The industrial era primarily honored the institution as a construct of creating value. And the information age (inclusive of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 phases) primarily honored the value that data could provide to institutional value creation. It allowed for greater efficiency to do the same things that were done in the industrial era. The Social Era honors the value creation starting with the single unit of a connected human. In this framework, powerful organizations look less like an 800-pound gorilla and more like fast, fluid, flexible networks of connected individuals — like, say, a herd of 800 nimble gazelles.I agree and think there is over-simplification of "social media" and have long been an advocate of dropping "media" from the term. There still seem too many who are seeing social as a silver bullet and looking at it with too small of a scope. Sure, your brand can be on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, but why? What are you doing there? And how does it tie in to the larger picture of your brand? If I have a bad experience in your store or with your product, social networks and social media aren't going to help solve that, unless brands start implementing changes from feedback they get on their Facebook wall or in tweets they receive.
This has started me thinking that the next "fad" in advertising and marketing will be a full, holistic approach about what the brand is doing at every consumer touchpoint and how those human interactions and connections are treated. But that's only if companies are able to organize from the inside out to agree to a strategy that takes coordination and sign off across multiple groups in an organization.