I was in a couple of meetings today where social media came up. These were meetings of PR people and it was interesting to hear how little people seemed to grasp the concepts. I’m not saying that these folks are dense – it’s more that the topic is really opaque. Part of the problem is that social media has a certain bandwagon-like quality to it – the blossoming of MySpace clones is a good case in point. Just because a profile-based community worked in that context doesn’t mean that it makes sense for everyone.

The same is true for video. Sure it’s a great medium but it isn’t the right thing for everything. It’s like a bunch of people deep see fishing – as soon as someone gets a bite everyone rushes to that side and the boat and it starts to tip one way and then the other. What people need to get a handle on is that social media are just a new set of tools to work with and that they need to experiment with them themselves to figure out which ones are going to work best in which situations.

There isn’t going to be some silver bullet for social media. What will work best is going to depend what industry your talking about, who you’re trying to reach and what you’re trying to say. It’s going to take time, but I think people are smart enough to figure it out. Then comes the hard part – doing it well and doing it right. One step at a time though, one step at a time.

[tags]PR, social media[/tags]


One thought on “Floundering

  1. Greg, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I will address social media and web 2.0 without discarding a lot of work over the last few years. While I might write one or two articles about a viral video, I am really more interested in a conversation that develops around a video on the part of customers and a vendor through additional video comments. I think the sales model used in a lot of social media such as YouTube videos and that I’d really rather focus on the two-way method of communication. Just because people can comment on a video does not mean a company is going to spend the time on answering customer comments.

    So as you say best practices in one industry work for others, and the campaigns in use at social media websites are either using the sales or marketing model.

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