The term “social media” has many individuals and businesses confused. Whenever I do a presentation I ask the audience how would they define “social media”. The answers reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of both the term and its related implications to the audience and business.
When communicating to an audience, who is not familiar with your topic, it is always vitally important to put your topic into context so as to insure comprehension of your communications.
Always Start With The Basics
For those of us whom use social media regularly we sometimes forget that the majority of people’s familiarity with the term “social media” is in context with simply having a profile on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. While having these profiles in most cases the audience does not know how to engage in social activities creating their own media. Thus I always start by spending time defining the terms so the audience can understand what they can do besides simply having a profile.
The adjective “social” implies that the verb or noun to which it is applied is somehow more communicative, cooperative, and moderated by contact with human beings. In the absence of agreement about its meaning, the term “social” is used in many different senses, referring among other things to attitudes, orientations or behaviors which take the interests, intentions or needs of other people into account.
The word media may refer to tools used to store and deliver information or data. Today’s social technologies enables people and businesses to create their own media as a means of getting their own audiences attention, attraction and affinity.
Every business needs an audience as do we as individuals. Our audience sustains us, whether it be your family or your customers, we all need an audience to support our development through the exchange of media, information (conversations) which precedes our progress to useful knowledge. Knowledge is the foundation of improving value, whether it is between two or more individuals or business to business. We share knowledge with our children hoping they will use it to improve their lives. We share knowledge with our customers hoping it can be used to improve their lives or their business. We share knowledge using multiple forms of media, a conversation.
Media, whether text, audio, images or video are merely elements of a “conversation”. The most valuable conversations take the interests, intentions or needs of other people into account. The least valuable conversations are pushed by selfish interests, intentions or the initiators needs in the forefront. Do you see the difference?
Most people see the difference but lack the will power and knowledge to make the necessary changes. Common sense isn’t that common anymore if it were the change would be easy. Social media is a shift aimed at the interest of others. The fact that most people and business don’t get it is because the mentality starts with the wrong premise: what’s in it for me?. The answer is what do you have to say that is in the interest of others. If you focus your media on the interest of others and create value for them results will come naturally.
If your web site, your profile or your conversations are static then your not adding any conversational value. That is why it is called “social media”. Do you expect people and business to come to you? You have to create enough interest, activity, for them to want to come to you. It is called a conversation. Get it? No, then go back and study the definition of “social” and “media” again.
Still don’t get it? Try having a self centered conversation with your spouse or your customer or try ignoring or not responding to their interest then maybe you’ll get it.
What say you?