It seems that I must have missed some key conference or memo sometime this year because all of a sudden I see a lot of blogs dropping the term social media and I have no idea what it means. I tried reading the wikipedia entry for social media but ended up more confused than ever. The first paragpragh seems OK and it reads
Social media describes the online tools, platforms
and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences,
and perspectives with each other. Social media can take many different
forms, including text, images, audio, and video. Popular social mediums
include blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, and vlogs.
This seems like an explanatory definition until you consider that this pretty much describes the majority of the Web today. We have moved from the read-only Web of the 1990s to the read-write Web of today where personal publishing is king from self indulgent blogs
and ugly MySpace pages
to home made rap videos
and amateur photo journalism
. Personal publishing and the editable Web is here to stay. Thus this term seems pretty redundant especially since the odious "Web 2.0" still seems to have legs. Did the pundits get tired of "Web 2.0" and decide they needed to create a new buzzword to yank our chains with? Seriously...WTF?
PS: Is it just me or does most of the Wikipedia entry seem like a cleverly disguised ad for a PR firm with references to "Social Media Press Releases" and "Social Media Campaigns". Double WTF?
PPS: The tipping point for me with regards to this silly term was reading the TechCrunch article about Microsoft hiring Michael Gartenberg and trying to parse "Hiring social media power users to evangelize for your company’s product" into a statement that made sense and failing. Woefully.