"Maybe it’s time to stop talking to your clients about social media completely. After all social media is not an objective in and of itself. It’s merely a means and a tool to create deeper and more valuable relationships with customers and prospects." Edward Boches
This rather charming presentation from Chris Thorpe eloquently and disarmingly echoes a point that I (and others) have made recently – that maybe it really is time for us to move on from defining things as 'social media'. With something that is changing so constantly and is so ill-defined and hard to characterize, our tendency is to simplify, apply shorthand, obsess about making things easy to understand. "To me" says Chris, "these things peaked about 1977, Morecambe and Wise christmas show, when there was bandwidth scarcity and attention abundance". He suggests that a better way of thinking about social technologies is as human interactions mediated via technology, giving us new streams of data (like identity, intent, attention, location, sentiment) – the raw materials with which to make new tools, collectively paint complex pictures, and provide intrinsic value to business.
And he finishes by touching on a subject that I've been mildly obsessing about lately – the relentless efficiency-driven spiral that business has gotten into that de-personalises and automates the most important interface that a business has – the interaction with its customers. In the process it has forgotten what those customers want – the language of humans not of old marketing, the characterful, not the impersonal, the subtleties that only social interaction can bring. The greatest opportunity that social technology enables for business is not just about communication, it is about giving business its humanity back. As a customer, I don't want the overcast, grey corporate environment – I want sunshine.