I think it's very possible that we have this whole social media thing wrong. I attend conferences with "social media" in the headlines and I even help program content at these events, trying to identify how marketers can use social media properly, but the fact is that social media is just media, plain and simple. The real issue lies not within the media, but within the creative -- so maybe we should be referring to the wave of interest as "social creative" rather than "social media." Social media, no matter how you slice and dice it, is just media and media is nothing more than a distribution platform for messaging. Facebook and MySpace may be very large sites, but they are still just media vehicles. What is of real value is how you harness the power of the audience itself and create or utilize buzz. That is something done by the power of creative, not by the location of the placement on the page. The creative story that needs to unfold is the interesting component of social, which I feel gets overlooked.
Cory Treffiletti of MediaPost pretty much nails it here. In the full story, which you can read by clicking the links above, he comes to the not so astounding idea that if your paid advertising concept is not interesting or significant enough to generate conversation, then your social media efforts will fall flat as well, because basically, nobody cares or talks about boring stuff.
In a recent exchange with someone who works in management consulting, I found that we were not having a "conversation" at all. What was happening was that she was saying what she wanted to say but not responding to my reactions at all - just like advertisers had become accustomed to in the past when people just sat in front of electronic devices and watched or listened. Only this person was doing it in a social context. Definitely old-school.
And old adage comes to mind here. "If you want to bore, talk about yourself. If you want to be a sterling conversationalist, talk about the other person." Good advice for advertisers and people in general in this new "social creative" world.