I get asked all the time why this is new media is called “Social Media” instead of something else. Good question and I don’t really have the “technical” answer other than to give you the business reason why I it is in front. We could have changed the word Social to “Engaged” or “Interact” or “Involved” and it would probably have been a much better descriptor than “Social.”
Social does imply one thing that is true – it is about communication and relationship building. This involves some degree of social but is not entirely accurate in my opinion. The true art form of social media is the engagement it offers to individuals and the ability to learn more about someone than we ever could before. If people engage with one another and share “stories” about what they are passionate about, you create substantially more interaction and connection between the individuals. This is what social media was designed to provide to those that participate.
Sure, it was all started by the social nature of MySpace and facebook, but if you look back to the earlier days with Amazon’s “star ratings” for books, e-bay’s “seller rating”, or even the beginning of blogs (weblogs used by programmers) you soon realize there is a deeper purpose to this powerful new media than just telling everyone who you are having coffee with at the moment. It provides insights and a deeper connection to those you are interacting and engaging with – that is where social media shines.
So when you think of the words “social media” going forward, don’t just think of some 20-something’s on facebook burning up hours of time, think of people in real businesses “engaging, interacting, sharing, and building deeper trusted relationships” from their interaction with one another. This is what should have taken place of social in front of media, but somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.