Here’s the problem. The disconnect between theory and implementation of social media marketing is growing larger. The hype is booming and nearly everyone in the marketing world is shouting for a plug and play solution.
Still, enterprise level corporations aren’t grasping that social media is a perpetual conversation which must naturally evolve. The “viral effect”, in its true form, cannot be forced, predicted (although this guy is getting close), or artificially initiated. As with all meme phenomenon, the success of digital media is defined by its inherent value in the eyes of the pop culture consuming demographic.
According to a recent article which appeared on the Harvard Business Blog, 2010 is shaping up to be the premier year for social media adoption by marketers and consumers. Citing growth in the mobile market, David Armano noted social media usage via mobile devices will increase as organizations crack down on access to mainstream social networks. This trend is already evident, in my opinion, and with the introduction of powerful new smartphones – it’s a safe bet mobile access to social media applications will parallel cell phone usage sooner rather than later.
Personally, I don’t see social media evolving as a replacement for email, texting, or verbal interaction via mobile devices. It’s still impractical and the real-time web is still taking form. Ultimately, yes, I think a consolidation of communication technology into a single comfortably portable (and durable) device will take place – and I do think the adoption rate of real-time web communication tools will dramatically spread on a massive scale as mobile devices become more affordable ($400 for an iphone? get outta here with that).
Technology aside, trends in social media aside…the bulk of social media theory comes down to one simple concept: “Shareability”.
The term has started to pick up relevance this past year…and the concept is inherently simple to grasp. Something which is “shareworthy” precipitates content which is “shareable” in the full sense of the term. It’s a youtube video you have to send to your friends, it’s an article your colleagues need to read, it’s a tutorial which clarifies a complex process – it’s an opinion which swayed a political, social, or cultural decision.
Shareability is the substance of social media success. It is the definitive quality of media which is shaping how publishers, producers, and writers hone their craft.
Shareability is the core of social media – and is a marketing concept which is still emerging.
What started as social bookmarking became social news. Social news became conversation and commenting. Conversation has become real time communication with “followers” and “friends”. So what’s next? Addiction? Obsession? Conformity? Will Twitter, Youtube, Myspace, and Facebook become the social fabric which drives personal connections?
Is social media, in its current form, just a glimpse of what’s to come as mobile communication technology becomes more available, accessible, and affordable on a massive scale? Are we at the door step of an impending shift towards on-demand information and real-time communication capability through apps, pings, and social media sharing?