The “Brand” of Social Media
May 3, 2008 4 Comments
There’s a lot of hype – some of it, I’ll affectionately call “geek hype” – about social media applications. Frankly, I think a good bit of it is warranted. It’s not top-down-generated hype about some product, but it’s bottom-up enthusiasm and utilization of approaches that are changing the way we express ourselves and connect with others.
Many words and brand names have been bandied about in the past few years as this train has rushed down the tracks. MySpace. LinkedIn. Twitter. Facebook. Ning. UGM. Blogs, vlogs, podcasts. Even for the initiated, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the pace. It’s communication on steroids, with little or no barrier to entry!
But I can’t help thinking about those that are the “uninitiated.” The majority of people – many of them incredibly bright, motivated, creative, and personable – are not yet on this train. Why? Well, very likely, they simply don’t feel the need. They haven’t heard the story. And I can only conclude that, as in all marketing and pre-sales, we have a job to do.
When you peel beneath the frothy foam that sometimes obscures the view – what is it that we’re actually promoting here? Is there a main message, a key point, a striking metaphor, that sums up the social media phenomenon in all its parts? Or, as I always like to begin with my clients: What’s the point?
At the root, it’s a branding challenge. We have a veritable Babel of messages out there, from a (delightfully rich) explosion of blogs and platforms, yet I don’t know that we’re communicating all the effectively outside of our own echo chamber.
I don’t have an answer. But the question does keep coming back to me, and perhaps we can wrestle with it together. If you had to pick one message, one metaphor, one image, one story, that would nicely sum up a key point of this social media movement, what would it be? Feel free to share in the comments, or write your own post, or Twitter some ideas. It’s a discussion we need to have as a community.
(Also, check out Lewis Green’s post on a similar topic)