It hit me today that the word “social” is not often used in a positive context.
Seems like it’s either used to yell at you for being quiet… “Come be social!”
Or to yell at you for having more to do than the speaker does… “Well, aren’t you just the social butterfly.” “You and your social calendar.”
So maybe that’s why I’ve taken to disliking the term “social media”.
I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a bitch on my tagging, because “new media” stopped being “new” and got all declasse, and now “social media” is ticking me off. “Emerging media” sounds better to me, but pretentious because it’s not very widespread. And “SoMe” is still a little eye-roll-worthy.
But seriously. Social media? Think about that. Isn’t it kind of the most redundant phrase in the world? Media is communication. Communication is between people. Of course it’s social.
As Tracy and I were leaving work today, she said she’d read that that if she wasn’t on Twitter, she should get out of PR. So I went home all riled up about Jeremy Pepper discounting her career because she hasn’t joined what is still, whatever we Twitterers want to think, a niche social network. (Maybe there are a million people on Twitter, maybe even 12 million, but there are over 70 million Facebook users.)
Except then I found his post, read it, (wondered why he hasn’t updated in over a month,) and totally agreed with him.
Part of his post is on the J&J mommyblogger debacle I’ve mentioned. But overall he’s talking about an issue that I think I see slightly differently. He seems to see an overall attitude toward social media by PR people that includes management apathy, staff incredulity, underfunding, underresourcing, and deliberate attempts to undermine social media structures.
I don’t disagree that those things exist, but I think I’m more optimistic about it. Or maybe I just like the solution.
In my company, and in my industry – small agency, pharmaceutical clients – the learning curve is long. But people are learning. And the only way they’re going to, is if people who have something to teach, teach. Explain why the old way doesn’t work, and what the purpose of the new way is. Use baby steps and easy examples. And don’t stop. If you love this stuff, it’s easy. If it’s fun to talk about new ways to connect with people, and better ways to make things happen, you’re exactly who should be teaching.
And then maybe nobody will need to write grouchy blog posts about it.
(I still don’t like that it’s called “social media,” though.)