Social Media is Not Dead

Rather than address the blogosphere with brilliant rhetoric and clarity regarding the Ferrari Incident, instead, Steve Rubel has declared Social Media Dead.

Perhaps he’s merely tapping into the power of social media to spark controversy to displace the conversation on Techmeme, or, just maybe, he really does believe that “social” or any other category preceding the word “media” is dead.

Jeremy Pepper calls it “Crisis Blogging to Defeat a Meme.”

Open the Dialogue captures it with, “What strikes me most is the deafening silence from Steve Rubel. Instead, he’s declaring this, that or the other thing “dead.”

They’re right on target. As for me, I’m here to say that Social Media, as a term and a channel, is far from dead.

Just last night, I held one of the greatest conversations I’ve had in a long time on the subject with Greg Narain, where we concluded that social media is part of the greater landscape of social tools, which is redefining the way people communicate – and its opportunity has only started to materialize. So to call social media dead in a thinly veiled attempt to mask the conversations about Edelman and Microsoft is absurd, reckless and premature.

In his post, Social Media is No Mo, Rubel states, “As we conclude 2006 and head into the new year it is my conviction that the phrase ‘social media’ is moot.”

Well, the term “moot” means: debatable, arguable, disputable…

He continues, “Social media, according to Wikipedia, ‘includes the online tools and platforms that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives with each other.’ This includes blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, vlogs and so on. For the last few years this was all considered related to, but separate from mainstream media. That point of differentiation is now gone. In 2006 all media went social. Pretty much every newspaper, TV network and publication has wholeheartedly embraced these technologies. Newspapers have comments, RSS feeds, blogs, wikis and other forms of two-way communications. TV networks have a presence in Second Life and more. The lines have blurred.”

Is it me, or am I the only one here that sees the blaring differences between blurred and dead?
Yes, he’s correct that in 2006 most, not all, media went social. Many of the tools he described are globally deployed and utilized. But the last time I checked, only a small portion of the global population is actually socializing using “social media tools” and, most importantly, these tools are merely creating the framework for a broader, more sophisticated social media platform for the future.

Allow me to clear this up for everyone here…First, step away from the punch! “Social Media” is not dead. It is in its own definitive category, which is barely starting to inspire those that actually make it social, not to be dictated by those that deploy it.

So if anything, 2007 becomes the year where social media is a respected, official, and recognized media channel, but it is by no means mainstream, traditional, broadcast, etc. We still have a lot of work to do to get the rest of the world to join the conversation and what it will become is the real story here.

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PR2.0 on Techmeme re: Steve Rubel's Social Media is No Mo Post
The Conversation Moves to Techmeme

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  • Jeremy

    Maybe it’s time that certain people are rendered moot to the conversation?

  • maggiefox

    Brian – you’re right on the money. My guess was a slow week for blog traffic, I had no idea there might be a red herring component – time to run off and find out more…

  • Brian Solis

    Jeremy, you might be more right than wrong.

    Maggie, thank you.

  • Tish Grier

    Brian,

    thanks so much for your thoughts on this (and more folks should read them)

    there’s been a great deal of hype this year, and many media orgs with a number of insincere attempts to be interactive with what they love to call “the people formerly known as the audience” (I hear that one more time, I’ll retch) Steve’s new agency has been one of those orgs(btw, I think Steve’s an ok guy–just that Edelman had some very bad and uninformed advice before they “flogged”). Maybe it’s because they were outed for their insincerity that Steve thinks its all over.

    But if it is all over, then the huge number of small businesses that are out there would be jumping on the social media bandwagon in droves and I’d be up to my eyeballs in consulting gigs. But, as I saw at the recent WOMMA summit, lots of medium size and small businesses don’t have a handle on social media and are struggling with it on many levels–from necessity of it to cost effectiveness of it.

    For that matter, many small local tv affiliates can’t get with the importance of social media…

    Maybe in Steve’s world–the world of the A-list and tech Insiders–social media’s dead. For the rest, it’s only approaching the dawn.

  • Mark

    Can we really give any credence to anything Steve Rubel says when the Edelman gang refuses to address the biggest issues facing the communications business – Edelman’s murky antics in the blogosphere. Edelman and Rubel’s comments these days sound like vain flackery – poor attempts to divert attention. Social media is not dead. It has barely taken its first baby breath.

  • L.A.

    Brian, concur fully with your observations put forth in this post – by its very nature, social media is a WIP. There may or may not be some applications which are becoming less relevant but for the most part, I see the conversation emerging on a daily basis. The only thing that might be “moot” is attempts to categorize or box-in something as organic as this.

    -LA

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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