Hey Marketing, There is No Social Media

For anyone who has ever had the displeasure to read this blog or hear me personally pontificate about the state of the Web, this post will come as no surprise to you, I'm quite sure. Oh, the title you ask? How can I, a social media strategist, claim there is no social media? I'm sure you can gather from the URL of this blog my answer: "the Web IS social." However, I'm changing my stance slightly to perhaps make it more clear: "Social is the Web." Or maybe "social media is the Web"? but then I don't want to continue to peddle the phrase "social media." You get the idea. Differentiating between the "Web" and "social media" is like trying to differentiate between a hot dog and all the animal-product gook that makes it up.

"Social media" is not a "space" or "there" or "channel." There is simply the Web which has evolved and which has intrinsic social qualities to it. Yes, there are what we would call "social media tools" or "social technologies" that have enabled and continue to expand the socialization of the Web, but these are more or less what now comprise the Web, rather than being some sort of separate add-on to it.

Users expect a participatory Web experience. Think about this, this is really the crux of what we mean by "the Web is social." It is that there is an expectation for participation. The corollary to this, and no less important, is the expectation of users (or consumers, if you prefer) to be able to tailor these participatory experiences based on attention preferences and streaming habits.

WHOT, pray tell, you ask, does this have to do with anything? Well, for (digital) marketing agencies, it means a lot. If the Web is generally central to any digital agency's service lines, the evolved state of the Web (and user/consumer behavior!) demands a shift in approach to the methodologies and service lines themselves.

"Social media" is (will be) a short-lived service line unto itself as "social media" (will) impact overall marketing strategy and everything from creative, web development & UX, paid, search, display, etc etc. Not to mention that the social Web and its many utilities also impact much of enterprise that is not marketing-related, but you already knew that.


Adam Lavelle said...


My simple response is this: you're right. The web, by it's very definition, connects things. It used to just connect documents to each other, and eventually web pages to each other. Then videos to each other, pictures, etc.. and now it connects people to each other. Cisco is right - it's the human network.

That said, the unique skills needed to create or manage dialogue between peers or between consumers and brands, is a different set of skills in the digital space than say banner advertising, or web development. Thus the arbitrary, but needed distinction of "social media".


Ben Watson said...

Finally. Now if we can convince all the 101 types to back the f&^k off their myopic path to interweb litter we can get back to work.

faris said...


media is inherently social. it provides a idea pathway between people.