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Why Social Media Ain’t Media

by Nicholas Scalice on March 30, 2012

Why Social Media Ain't Media

Yes, I am aware that the title of this article is not grammatically correct, but I needed to grab your attention. For too long now, social media has been treated by many as a “new form” of traditional media. Well, it’s time to get this notion out of your head.

When the term “social media” was coined many years ago, it was used to describe something so new and revolutionary, that I don’t think anyone really knew what to call it. Was it social? Yes! Was it media? Yes! So let’s call it social media! But, there’s so much more to understanding the function of social media in society.

So if social media isn’t necessarily media, then what is it? It’s a conversation! It’s the biggest and most engaging conversation in the history of human communication.

Do you think this is an overstatement? Did you know that it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users; for  television, it took 13 years; for the Internet, it took only 4 years. Facebook had 50 million users in only 2 years. Now they have almost 900 million users as of this writing. Talk about a revolution!

Anyway, to get back on track, I think it’s clear that something more than just being “media” has driven the speed and scope of social media. Media has traditionally been primarily a one-way method of communicating. You had the creator of the media and the consumer of the media. Does that sound like social media to you? No, of course not.

So what’s different? Social media has transformed what used to be a one-way street into a multi-lane superhighway. The ability to communicate, to interact and to engage with the folks who created or shared the original media has made this possible.

Therefore, social media isn’t really media in the traditional sense. It is communication. Media is a thing. Social media is an activity. It is a method of communication.

Understanding this is extremely important, because it’ll help you get into the proper mindset for your social media marketing campaign. You have to focus on communicating with your audience. To do otherwise, would be to miss out on the most important aspects of social media.

Stay social my friends, and give this article a “like” if you found it useful!

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Nicholas Scalice

Founder at FastBlink
A native of Boca Raton, Florida, Nicholas founded FastBlink in 2009. He has a diverse background in direct sales, affiliate marketing, domain name investing and content marketing.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Antonia Matthews April 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

I completely agree with the point you’re making here – social media is about two-way engagement and listening.

But to play devil’s advocate a bit. The definition of ‘media’ is a tool used to deliver information – or a means of communication. So, it’s less the fact that social media isn’t ‘media’ – and more about the realization that social media has, is, and will continue to redefine communication. Traditional media needs to continue to adapt and innovate to integrate with these online networks and conversations.

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Nicholas Scalice April 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Hi Antonia! Thanks for the feedback. I totally agree with you on the various uses of the term “media.” I purposely over-emphasized certain points above, in order to make my argument, but what you brought up is completely valid. The bottom line is that we need to keep the conversation the focus of social media.

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Rickey Garrett July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I visited you website and watched your video now you choose not to be social anymore!!! Whatever you do in life is built on Relationships… Great Article

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