Grab your iPad and beat me with it every time I say “social media”

A Burger King hamburger, of which they've sold fewer ostensibly because they are social networking morons
Image via Wikipedia

You’ll no doubt be reading more articles and blogs touting the end of “social media” like this one by Johnathan Salem Baskin for Ad Age. Baskin points to a pair of recent social media “failures:” Burger King, with its plethora of Crispin-Porter-inspired social media stems and pieces, and Pepsi with its Refresh Project. He treats both of these as traditional advertising media campaigns.

THEY AREN’T.

Let me say that again more completely. THEY AREN’T MEDIA CAMPAIGNS. And if they are… or if that’s how they were intended, then it’s no wonder at all why they “failed.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re treating social networks as media, you aren’t getting it.

There has never been such a thing as “social media.” And there has always been such a thing as social networking. It just happens much faster now because it moves at the speed of electrons. Social networking used to happen at bridge clubs, on golf courses, in coffee houses and at parties. Now it also happens on FB and Twitter, and wherever it occurs because of Foursquare, and in countless other dimensionless places on the Internet. We’re not talking about a marketing medium here, people. We’re talking about the places where people meet. If you represent a company, and you want to meet people, feel free to join in the Great Big Dialogue. Just know this: the instant you start sounding like you’re selling something, people are going to turn you off the same way they would if you walked up to them at a party with your little rum and coke in hand and began your pitch. It’s social. Not commercial.Get that and you’ll get it.

SO…. from this point going forward, I’ll make a deal with you. If you catch me slipping up on our blog  calling something social media, when I am really talking about social networking… ping me. Ping me hard. Slap me upside the head. You catch me doing it and I’ll take you out for a Whopper and a Pepsi. On me. Deal?

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