I read a blog by Chris Brogan this week, that we all get our knowledge from the same place and repeat what we have read instead of making our own opinions. What if that knowledge is slightly wrong? I see this in social media circles. The information is taken and remixed all across the web, in blogs, posts, tweets... People take this to be true. This is why brands are a little scared of social media - consumers can take a brand message and remix it any way they want. Which message is true?!
It is the same with the knowledge we, or you reading this post, are supposedly learning. Is it right? I say innovation and development can only happen when we step out of the box and take a different perspective on what's going on.
That's what I've tried to do in my PhD. Instead of reading 'the big names' in social, I used exploratory and empirical research to shape my knowledge and then looked to those big names. Some of what I believe to be true matches others opinions and some doesn't but I'm happy in the way I approached social media and confident to argue my side. I was glad of that this week when I had a little bit of a debate with a concept I drew from my doctoral research.
That of branded social space. I've written about branded social space before. It is essentially the branded areas developed on social media. Simple. Well apparently not.
I was embroiled in a debate about the use of 'space' and 'page'. Stop, take a minute, give me your first thoughts on the difference, and then move on to reading the rest of the post. I'm sticking to my guns with space; I think I converted my fellow sparring partner too. So why space?!
Where does the term page come from? Webpages?! Well that's my theory. Webpages of old, were static pages, with no two-way interaction. They held information that was not regularly updated. It is a page. A digital equivalent of a page of a book or magazine, that's my argument anyway. So does page bode well with the evolved internet?
Social media, as it is today, has brought a dynamic, ever evolving element, to the traditional webpage. Does the philosophy behind social media fit well with what was a static page? No.
However the adoption of 'Pages' by Facebook and now G+ continues the cycle of the page. We learn by others, remember?! Is anyone going to try and move thinking on when the big players are still using pages?! Here me out.
If something allows for multiple input, communication and interaction then I do not see 'page', fitting well. Page, to me, conjures the internet of old. Space, I feel, allows for endless possibilities and is ever changing with the people who shape and create it.
In the case of branded social space, while it may be developed by the brand it will more likely be shaped by the consumers who use it and seek value from it.
Not only is space dynamic but in the case of social media you are renting, if you like, the space from another brand. It is not your page, you being to shape the space offered to you by the social media provider. It may belong to Facebook, Twitter, G+ or any other social media platform you are on. It is almost like renting a shop. You rent the space and if you break their terms you can be removed.
Artists get installation space to shape and create a user experience. Is this not what the extension of social media permits brand to do? Brands shape sensations, signs, symbols, interactivity in different ways with the space that is afforded to them on social media platforms.
I still say, page feels static. I like the possibility of space and the experience and value users can feel from space.
Social media shaped a change in our behaviours, it changed how we communicate, learn and interact. I just think that we need to review what we call the spaces we interact with brands in, to fit this new philosophy. Perhaps this is more of a philosophical academic debate. Please do let me know...