Social Media – Call It What You Will

    January 24, 2007

Apparently, bickering about semantics, titles and descriptions is a popular past time once again… either that or some bloggers have too much time on their hands. In case you missed it, a number of bloggers launched a crusade against the use of the word “social” – as in “social media” – to describe this method of Internet interaction.

Before we go forward, has about 13 various definitions for the word in question, most of which actually apply to this particular medium:

1. pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.

2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.

10. Zoology. living habitually together in communities, as bees or ants.

As you can see, even the zoological definition is applicable in reference to this growing Internet phenomenon, especially when you consider Diggers, Farkers, bloggers and other I’m-not-calling-it-social media users and their habitual use of these sites and services (just check any Fark discussion for 24 and you’ll see what I mean).

Now before I travel further down this semantic slope, let me just say I don’t care what you call it, just as long as you use this medium your advantage. The benefits of a successful viral media (is this acceptable?) marketing campaign can do wonders when it comes to promoting your product AND from an SEO perspective.

And if you don’t believe in the effectiveness of a well-planned social media (heh, sorry… force of habit) campaign, just ask Rand Fishkin and eMarketer. They’ll tell you all you need to know about the potential benefits of viral and/or word-of-mouth marketing.

Semantic arguments and witty Breakfast Club references aside, it really shouldn’t matter what this particular medium is called. Whether it’s viral, linkbait, WOM, Web2.0 or social media (you say po-tay-to and I’ll say po-tah-to), you shouldn’t get caught up trying to find a descriptor that fits your idea.

Instead, the focus should be on ways to leverage these viral campaigns to your product’s advantage and the benefits of doing so.