Media was Always Social. Scale is what’s changed.

Being in the media field I’m inundated with content discussing Social Media.  Social this.  Social that.  Perhaps this is why Ad Age’s Matt Jones’ article “Why I Hate Social Media” grabbed my attention.  Here is an excerpt:

People are interesting. Ideas are interesting. Stories are interesting. Real stuff is interesting. Brands are interesting (or, at least, some of them are). Even ads can be interesting. But media? Media just connects those things. It’s a conduit. Media is not interesting. Not even the “social” kind.

He’s right of course.  The only people who really care about the developments in social media are the people making the developments.  Yet the mainstream media, me and my peers, and brand marketers everywhere seem to perpetually be drawn to the discussion of the thing rather than how to make people, ideas, and stories interesting.

Part of the problem is media insiders DO find these stories interesting.  The collapse of long revered brands, the rise of other brands, the guerilla warfare of platforms looking to outsmart their competitors IS interesting on one level.

The problem is it creates an artificial distinction between US and THEM.  To debate the validity and longterm viability or Twitter misses the fact that Twitter’s long term existence doesn’t really matter as much as the ability to share, distribute, and openly harness an API to create meaningful applications which will undoubtably continue regardless of Twitter’s future.

Media hasn’t become social.  It always was.  I talked about the latest Dukes of Hazzard episode with anyone who would listen in 1980.  My mother sent me newspaper clippings all the through my college career (for example – don’t use Bean0, it is made with penicillin! [I’m alergic.]) The difference now is that media is social with SCALE.

4 Responses to “Media was Always Social. Scale is what’s changed.”


  1. 1 David Gillespie November 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I really like Faris Yakob’s take on this – he says “Media is inherently social, it provides an idea pathway between people.”

    I think the comment on scale is bang on, and we’re still in the process of figuring out what being able to communicate on a many-to-many scale means. We constantly trivialise it, when the reality is for the entirety of human history we have communicated in very specific ways, and for the last 15 years or so a radically different model has come in to being.

    I believe the web is inherently social though, and I believe even the biggest nay-sayers will figure that out over time. We shouldn’t bitch that they don’t get it though, we should take advantage of having a jump on them.

  2. 2 dumpster rental atlanta September 30, 2014 at 12:51 am

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  1. 1 The River » Blog Archive » It’s also measurable now! Trackback on June 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm
  2. 2 Media’s Always Been Social, Now It’s Just Social At Scale Trackback on July 5, 2009 at 7:32 am

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