Just for the record, "social" is...
... Communication that is already a part of the mainstream. It is neither niche nor nebulous, it just is.
... A part of all media, and all people. In fact, people are media.
... Really ‘earned media’, and should be referred to as just that, but let’s not get hung up on semantics.
... Less about brand, more about common interests, and all about conversation, as well as collaboration.
... A form of digital marketing in that digital streams can catalyze social interaction, but is really the synthesis of culture.
... Multi-faceted, multi-functional, multi-disciplined and omnipresent.
... Ultimately a bridge between the online and offline worlds, and inspires people to act.
... Probably more of an offline manifestation, when you really think about it, because it enables people to think more and act more often.
... Still whatever it wants to be, or whatever we want it to be, so again, let’s not get hung up on semantics.
... About trust, transparency and authenticity, whose associated behaviors are enabled through relationships, not technology or media placement.
... A practice (sometimes Zen-like) whose behaviors are also learned, or should be learned, during the formative periods of our lives, prior to our arrival online.
... Something that, more importantly, requires humility, patience, care, generosity, consistency, insight, compromise and adaptability to be resonant (like all relationships, or marriage).
... An ongoing narrative about the human condition, in all of its guts, gloom, goofiness and glory. Basically, a giant, collective Super-Ego.
... Not owned by one camp over another, nor should it be. There are moderators, editors and facilitators, but everyone is a participant.
... A different value proposition for -- and plays a different role within -- different companies, brands and individuals.
... Not rooted in a fixed formula for ROI, nor is it necessarily about ROI (based on what your definition of ‘ROI’ really is...).
... A support base for a wide (and often undiscovered) range of KPIs, all of which are dependent on specific brand, market, corporate and consumer needs (mostly consumer).
... Not a support base for traditional segmentation or fixed archetypes because it is truly dynamic in nature. People are truly dynamic in nature.
... An amazing market research tool, monitoring platform and media optimizer (among many other things).
... An open ecosystem of ideas, interests, content, products and actions, available to us all in real-time (well, in most cases at least).
... The empowerment of communities and their connectivity, creating an unlimited network effect.
... Something that is, and should be, second nature to all of us as human beings. Or those who are interested in being human.
So why all the fuss?
Why all the hubris?
Do we really need to be ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’?
Isn’t the soapbox, or the sandbox, already big enough for all of us?
More importantly, aren’t we all students in the bigger game of life?
Are relationships really this difficult to build? (Sorry, dumb question...)
The bigger question is this: what are you going to do... what are you doing right now... to make the world a better place?
“Objects of design and desire are never going to scratch the itch, in short. Only the moral imperative of self-actualization will stand as the single most important driver in people’s lives. That’s our talisman as marketers.”
-Brendan Howley, Novelist | Screenwriter | Activist | Marketer
Please, everyone, can we now move on to the more important stuff?