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Social Media Architects and Developers

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[I wanted to post some quick thoughts here which I think put today's Voce news in some additional context...]

So in my previous post, I touched on an observation, a belief really, that there’s a widening gap within this bubbling ecosystem of social media practitioners.

On one side you have an up crop of strategists that are advising, counseling and generally speaking, helping their clients and companies plot their social media programs. And on the other side you have a pool of developers who have learned that there’s dimension, color and a layer of richness that people are increasingly expecting from the social web, and, well, they know how to deliver this experience. Period.

You have, essentially, the social media architect and the social media developer. Each capable in their own right, and each equally incapable in so many others. And therein lies the gap.

Architects will plan incredibly cool and compelling social media strategies, but inevitably they reach a threshold, usually it’s a technical one, which forces them to compromise, shelf or trash their ideas because they don’t have the resources or the knowledge to push things forward. Or, worse yet, they don’t acknowledge this technical threshold and we get really interesting looking Blogger and Myspace pages to talk about.

On the flip side, developers can make incredibly cool and compelling tools, with all the 2.0 lipstick, but fail miserably at figuring out how to apply these experiences to broader pains and problems that might exist. It’s the all sizzle, no steak conundrum…

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it’s a gap that either can cross easily.

For this reason, I think the stronger social media practitioners will be those who can continue to bring these two areas of expertise together and approach programs way more holistically (from the get-go) — thinking about strategy AND development in tandem — verses trying to bolt the other side on to an idea, or worse yet, trying to fake it.

Somewhere in the middle here also lives a new sort of practitioner, maybe it’s the media architect Tom Foremski speculated, maybe it’s something else all together, it’s all still taking shape, but I expect it will solidify very soon. This Voce post today is just reflective of how one company is planning to get the job done….

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