The ever-astute Mike “Bear” D’Amico raised a fair question after a recent post, asking “So, just to get my lingo down, is social media no longer considered a part of Web 2.0? I thought the interactivity and social nature of wiki, digg, facebook, etc. was the whole 2.0 thing.” Obviously you thought that because you are so wrongheaded, Bear…
No, no, no–heavens no! Mike makes a very good point: considering that Social Media is a direct byproduct of Web 2.0, why have so many marketing people leapt past the revolution of interactivity to focus almost obsessively on social media?
First, they haven’t entirely. The deep, easy interactivity that Web 2.0 provides creates ongoing opportunities to forge deeper, more engaging brand experiences for consumers, so marketers won’t be walking away from that anytime soon. But the huge draw of social media lies in its numbers, its tonnage, its ratings points. Specifically, Americans have adopted wholesale changes in our media consumption away from TV and print, to phenomenon like Facebook, MySpace and the blogosphere. And we’ve done it with breathtaking speed. With some estimates putting the percentage of daily media activity in social media as high as 30%, advertisers need to innovate ways to meaningfully enter these platforms, because the one media principle that endures remains to “fish where the fish are.” Today, more people surf online, deeply engaging with social media. Sure, Web 2.0 heightens those engagements, but social media are the end result. And this huge new platforms spells opportunity–or oblivion–for advertisers.
In a way, Web 2.0 is to social media as Illinois is to Lincoln: the rail splitting abolitionist made his home in Springfield, but his reputation and place in history live on a nation level.
When any cultural trend grows this large this rapidly, marketers pay close attention. Social media provide advertising it’s biggest new creative platform since the launch of the modem-equipped PC. Aside from these, advertising creatives have kept themselves busy polishing formats and incrementally innovating techniques first developed decades ago.
But social media is fresh snow that beckons all of us to carve the first glorious tracks through it. As an online friend put it, if you missed the digital dance five or six years ago when Web 2.0 first rumbled in, here’s your chance for a reboot. Because social media is huge. It’s still new. And no one owns it yet.
Get busy Mike…