I had breakfast with a friend this morning who thinks strategically about social media and I restated an idea other friends and colleagues have heard me utter and that is that ‘Social Media is dying, long live media that is social’.
They were coming from a position that they were getting tired of the mainstream usage of the phrase ‘social media’ and I was coming from an observation that in the very near future, all media will be social and that as a culture, we will expect, nay demand, our interaction with the media around us to provide the opportunity to be social.
The model of interaction and development of advertising, marketing and corporate communications is destined to undergo still even more radical changes based on the principals and paradigms of what we call today, social media.
The dampener on the explosion of social media is the inability of brands and corporation to control the messages related to their brand. When this comes up, I find myself stating that “control is an illusion, at best, you can try to herd cats” when it comes to social media.
Case in point is a blog post I came across by a UK blogger, Henry Tapper, who writes at henrytapper.wordpress.com. He posted a link on a LinkedIn group to his blog asking, “Do we understand the risks to our business of social media?“
I clicked through and read his post, in which he commented about the attention that needs to be paid to staff participation in social media, particularly when it involves a financial service company. There is the potential for quite a lot of damage to be done by a rogue employee who posts trade secrets or confidential memos online.
At TheSocialMediaBible.com, this question comes up quite a lot from all types of companies. While I cannot disagree with the sentiment, I predict that we’ll see companies who can withstand the scrutiny of an open, public examination prospering and those who try to shrink or control a social media-based interaction diminishing.
The impact that social media supports or, in another perspective threatens, is a function of the open, all inclusive characteristic of the genre – it’s organic, based on human need / desire to interact and I’m not at all sure that it can be contained.
If we look at it from another angle, I’ll ask how CAN you prevent staff from participating in social media? With the growth of smartphones to facilitate access and short of making non-participation in any social media a condition of employment, I am not sure that this does not bridge over in to 1st amendment territory in the US.
So if the overwhelming movement in media is to a model that demands more and more social interaction, I wonder what the outcome will be. An anarchy of uncontrolled messaging that impacts brands and companies at will, or even more attempts to contain the uncontainable nature of human interactions?
We live in interesting times, yes?