I was having a conversation with a friend who is not inside the Social Media beltway. He’s a marketing director for a publicly traded company. He’s very savvy about marketing, and pretty well informed about new technologies. But he’s not a regular reader of social media blogs and not a pundit.
So I was starting to tell him about some of the arguments over the term, Social Media, and he stopped me before I even got going. “You mean people are debating whether it’s the right term?” When I said yes, he just laughed and said that the conversation is already over–everyone he knows in marketing already thinks of it as Social Media.
Now, granted, I’ve certainly leveraged myself heavily in the “social” camp. MotiveLab is a “Social Marketing” agency, and we offer “Social Leadership Marketing.” (I can already hear groans and gags in the punditsphere.) So I would certainly be happy if my friend turns out to be right. But what really intrigued me about his comment was the momentary glimpse of the gap that divides the dedicated pundits and the masses.
The danger of getting too immersed in the punditsphere is that it becomes an echo chamber. The circles of discussion are small, even though the readership may be quite large. There are arguments on the minutiae that most day-to-day marketers and business people don’t have the time or, gasp, the interest to follow and flog. The buzzwords and memes that escape the echo chamber and grow in the wider market are those that are simplest to understand and pack the most meaning. And “social media” is among the simplest and most meaningful I’ve seen since the Tipping Point.
So, yes, I certainly hope my friend is right. But if he is, I’ll also be a little chastened that I was that out of touch with the market, and didn’t realize I’ve been selling past the close.