Saturday, August 30, 2008

Social Media Is NOT An Industry

I've been making a concerted effort to leave more comments on the blogs I read, and recently I commented on a post called "The Future of Social Media: Hope Or Hype?" at Jason Falls' great Social Media Explorer blog. My comment touched on some discussions I recently had at a breakfast with Jeff Pulver, where we were discussing different real world applications of "Social Media."


Social Media is fun and addicting, so it is no surprise that the active participants love to talk about it, examine it, analyze it and obsess over it. Hell, here I am writing about it. Guilty as charged! But what is Social Media? As I wrote in my response to Jason:

Hi Jason. Great post. I think the reason this Hype question even exists is that "Social Media" is really NOT a standalone industry or sector, even though many folks are trying to position it as such. IMHO Social Media is not an industry.
Well, if it is not an "industry" what is it? I continued:

Social Media really refers to a set of technology driven tools and services that simply allow us to do what we have always been doing -- interacting and engaging with friends, family, associates and customers -- but with Social Media we can do it in a much more efficient, easy, cost-effective and far reaching way. Faxes were better than snail mail, and email is better than faxes, but they all enable us to communicate and exchange messages with others. Social media is like that on steroids, making it almost ridiculously simple to engage with an almost unlimited number of folks, removing all barriers of time, cost and place. Social Media provides the ability to listen and engage faster and better than ever before, and EVERY industry can use the tools and services... not to be a part of Social Media, but to leverage Social Media as a part of what they are already doing, to do it better!
Clearly, I believe there are tremendous personal and professional benefits to using Social Media, but the key is not as much being "active in Social Media" but rather, how can you make Social Media become a part of your activities.

What's your take? Is Social Media an Industry? Please add your thoughts to the comments, and if you like reading this blog, please subscribe by email or RSS.

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