Mar 302011

Too many times when I talk social media with clients, they want to start with tactics not strategy. Facebook! Twitter! Q&A sites!

The questions you should start with are — Why are you looking at social media, and what do you have to say? This is why a post early this month by Om Malik really hit home for me. Titled “Why the Medium is Not the Message,” it was about just that, not confusing the channel with the communication. New media like Facebook and Twitter have replaced old media like newspapers and television, but those are changes in delivery, not (necessarily) in content.

The act of communicating is where the power comes from. And in the case of b2b and b2g, the audiences you want to reach are often already well defined. You just have to jump in and start doing it. One of my favorite expressions is “never let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

So the next time a new client is letting a banner design or brand guidelines delay a launch, I’m going to send them this post. It was part of a new series on GigaOm called “Om Says,” and looks to have been launched to promote the site’s paid service. Regardless it’s a consistently good read, and if you subscribe you get the posts emailed to you before they are published online.

BTW, if you click through to Om’s post you should scroll down to the comments. Some of them go very deep, referencing the author Marshall McLuhan who coined the phrase “the medium IS the message” back in the early 1960s. That is who some readers thought Malik was paraphrasing (and disagreeing with) in his blog title, although he says he was not referencing McLuhan. Don’t miss the movie clip from Annie Hall provided by one of the commenters, which features McLuhan in a quick cameo role.

So a final thought here might be, be careful using a phrase or expression unless you know its origin!

  One Response to “Why (Not How) Are You Doing Social Media?”

  1. Great Blog. Enjoying your work more and more. Yes, even the technical stuff.

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