Media Isn't Social

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Several weeks ago I delivered a 16 minute TEDx talk titled “reinventing social media”. Typically I like to frame topics outside of the social media bubble, but in this instance the topic itself and the purpose of the talk was designed to get us all thinking about things a bit differently. You see, businesses, brands and organizations are truly struggling with the disruptive nature of social technologies. In fact, the term “social technologies” is part of the problem—we are all fixated on the technologies and meanwhile the real action lies in harnessing the change brought about by human behavior enabled by technology.

I used the simple story of how a colleague shared a book with me. The book itself (media) is not social—the interactions, communications, stories and conversations that involve the book are.

But to say “it’s about people” is too simplistic. Toward the end of the talk, I made my case that in a couple of years it would be unlikely that I would even be talking about “social media”. This thesis based on the belief that “social” translates into the conversion of an organization which requires shifts in culture, technology, process and ultimately behavior. If an organization does not empower its people to behave in a productive and beneficial social manner than can we actually use the word “social” to describe it? If the organization has not begun integrating these changes across several functional groups as opposed to leveraging just one (such as marketing) then is it really taking advantage of some of the changes I discuss in my talk?


I believe that the answer is no. It means that one part of the business is behaving a certain way while the others behave differently. This would be like your head looking at the person’s face who you are having a conversation with while your body is walking away from them in mid conversation. So in order for “social media” to become reinvented, to go with the theme of the TEDx discussion, it has to change (or we need to). And change as we all know always begins with people—so our focus needs to turn here. Hope you like the talk and as always feel free to share your own thoughts.

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