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What is Social Media?

… One of the toughest, yet most thought provoking questions I’ve been asked in a long time. But to get a start, Random House says it like this:

social media

noun ( usually used with a plural verb ) Digital Technology . websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts: Many businesses are using social media as a means to generate sales.

Almost everyone who is passionately immersed (professionally and personally) in what they do is sometimes too close to the subject to give an objective answer.  And that was me in this case.  After the standard, “well that’s a very good question,” I took a moment to collect and realized that there was no need for objectivity in this case. What was needed was an honest conversation about what ‘being social’ actually means.

I was like ‘ello?

MEME-BLOG-social-media-explained-donuts‘Online communications used by large groups to share information’ – so cold, so high level, so not what I’ve based my career on. So what does social actually mean to me? Social media is about developing a community and building a group of people who are passionate about a cause, an organization, or an activity.  Businesses and organizations who simply ‘push out information’ are doing an injustice to the platforms and people within their community by not truly engaging. These communities are built of vibrant, two-way communication driven, people. The people who make up our communities have unique stories, personalities and points of view, but at the same time have a common bond between them.  Organizations ‘winning’ the social media game right now are those that recognize it’s more than a promotion channel, it’s an opportunity to tell the stories of their community and start real conversations about those stories.  Those that are simply using these magical avenues as pushing out marketing messages are missing the mark and the enormous opportunity they have to fill up our audiences trust buckets with the love and affection of their community.

Without people,we don’t have a community. Without community, we don’t have stories to tell.  What are we left with then? I wish I had some prolific answer, but unfortunately I don’t. I just know that no matter how big/small/tall/short/fat/skinny our social communities are, we have an obligation and honor of sharing the stories of our community and if we ignore that obligation, we miss the mark and potential of social.

What is social media? Simply put, it’s telling and engaging in the stories of your community. Have a fantastic Monday 🙂 -Max

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