Don’t Confuse Social Networking With Social Media


Posted by Patrick Keane

This article was originally posted on Advertising Age.

Poking and Tweeting Is Not a Media Plan

Patrick Keane

In the first 10 years of the commercial internet, the models offered by AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe presented online replicas of their offline counterparts: chat rooms, blasted community e-mails and tightly controlled content. As these old models evolved, though, the web became decentralized and more social. Today, there is a lot of confusion about what this means, with terms such as “social media” and “social networking” buzzing through the Twitterverse.

Social networking is more than setting up an online presence, and social media is more than just blasting out press releases. Until brands understand how to authentically join, rather than crash, the conversation, they will continue to throw their money away.

Social interlopers
The friction stems from the reality that usage model for social networks isn’t passive consumption, it’s engagement. Users do not flock to Facebook to read articles, they come to voyeuristically observe or share the experiences of those people in their social graph — which makes such sites great for playing games and keeping in touch, but makes it harder for interlopers to establish a presence. Social networking for big brands is a difficult challenge, as applying the scale of 1:1 communications to an audience of millions is a Pyrrhic task. Coca-Cola, Toyota and other marquee brands have embraced Facebook, but rarely if ever do I see them present on the news feed. The only brands I see on the site are those that target me most abstractly, blindly spamming men in my age bracket with solutions to hair loss.

Read the entire article here.

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