Outlaw the Phrase "Social Media" at Work

Posted on November 2nd 2012

Outlaw the Phrase "Social Media" at Work

When I speak with executives around the world about social media and business, many think of their kids' (or grandkids') Facebook or the Twitter silliness they hear about on television.

Frequently, executives come to the conclusion that social media are frivolous at best and a dangerous time-waster at worst. Once they have that in their mind, it is tough to convince them otherwise.

It's not social media. It's real-time media.

In order to scale social, I recommend that we stop using the word "social" and instead substitute "real-time".

When I ask to the same executives about "real-time communications with customers" they lean forward and want to know more. These are the same people who dismiss Twitter.

When I talk about "real-time media" they understand that it is important for their business.

What are people doing on your site right now? Has someone just praised you on Facebook? Panned you on Twitter? Published a how-to video about your product on YouTube? Is there a mainstream media report out about your company?

Executives understand real-time media and are eager to implement the ideas.

If you're having trouble convincing the bosses about the value of social media as communications tools, why not try my semantics trick and discuss real-time media instead? Let me know how it goes.

What say you?

DavidMeermanScott

David Meerman Scott

Marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of 8 books including "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" (now in 25 languages), "Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead" and "Newsjacking".

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Comments

Larry Capra aka zenabowli
Posted on November 2nd 2012 at 5:18PM

It seems silly when we need to cajole our respected business leaders in this way.  If it takes re-characterizing a concept with a euphemism in order for them to wrap their mind around a new idea; I'd question their cognitive abilities, as well as, their leadership qualifications. 

Business leaders need to be visionaries, agile when assimilating details, and quick to recognise a thing of value.  If we have to trick them, the same way we get a child to eat their veggies... well, what more can I say.  The future is suspect.

But, your point is well taken.  I've considered the same ideas in the past.

CarrieMorgan
Posted on November 2nd 2012 at 7:31PM

With the c-suite, it's all about the spin! Put it in terms that resonate in THEIR world, and remember it's all about results. If you can't present valid, compelling evidence about the need to participate in social media, you aren't doing your job.

It's going to happen with or without you, people. Wouldn't you rather have a modicum of control? 

Darryl Erentzen
Posted on November 5th 2012 at 6:02AM

I'd take it a step further and say, "Not only is it going to happen with or without you, it's going to happen TO you if you're not paying attention."

Probably why I'm self-employed ;)

ChrisSyme
Posted on November 3rd 2012 at 7:46PM

I prefer real-time. It accurately conveys the power of the media--you don't own it and you have to keep up or die. Social doesn't begin to describe the  time pressure (and opportunity) it presents to marketers and brands.

ChrisSyme
Posted on November 3rd 2012 at 7:47PM

I prefer real-time. It accurately conveys the power of the media--you don't own it and you have to keep up or die. Social doesn't begin to describe the  time pressure (and opportunity) it presents to marketers and brands.

DavidMeermanScott
Posted on November 4th 2012 at 8:28AM

Larry, it's now cajoling. It's reality. Business is about evaluating risks and executives see social media as risky. Real-time media less so.

ColleenHofmann
Posted on November 16th 2012 at 8:22PM

We recently instituted an agency-wide ban of the word social media, especially when talking to clients for this very reason. Occassionally, the word slips out, but referring to it instead as "real-time communications" makes for more engaging and worthwhile conversations with our clients. Social media is scary. But real-time communications doesn't invoke the same knee-jerk terror.