Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Finally Get Twitter

I haven't written much about social media, but I've read a whole lot about it. Mostly on Twitter links to blogs where it seems like every person in the media profession is now a "social media expert." I've come to the conclusion that social media is really another name for what a lot of regular people are already doing organically, and what a lot of media professionals are trying to get control of. Just watch teenagers on their phones for ten minutes. 

The thing is, you can have some influence, but you can't control social media. It's people chattering, talking to friends over the fence, the phone, and at the water cooler. Only now they have the tools to talk to a whole lot more people. And a lot faster. Someone likes a restaurant (or not) and Tweets about it or posts a message on Facebook. The restaurant stands to reap more customers through this "word of mouth" or depending on the situation, lose them in one swipe. United Airlines can throw millions into PR and social media, but they can't control the one pissed off traveler, smart phone in hand, who's flight was cancelled, and is just looking for something to Tweet about. People have to tell the truth. If you're not authentic, you'll be exposed and gutted and grilled for dinner. That's social media at work. 

We're in the middle of a huge shift in the media world. We're watching a change in who controls the message. No one knows how it will all shake out, but it's fascinating to watch (and participate in). Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others might be here in five or ten years. Or maybe not. They might be replaced with the next thing. But social media is here to stay. Gossip and chatter is human nature. And the public will save us from the "experts."

Copyright 2010, Bremmer & Goris Communications, Inc.

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