Social Media: It’s Not The Technology It’s How We Use It

In a Twitter discussion tonight (#PR20chat – hat tip to Beth Harte for initiating a good chat), there was some discussion around “technology” and it’s importance in Social Media. Yes, it is important, but the technology is simply an “enabler” or “facilitator” and the original intent of the creator of the technology can change – this the “bargain” created by the end user. The bargain?

Sure. As an example, Facebook was intended for students. After a few years, it became available to everyone and now the average age of a Facebook user is in their 40’s. Why? Because that’s how it was adopted. As MySpace was adopted by youth. The underlying technologies are similar, but the use is very different. So the bargain is recolved when
Twitter was put out as a secondary interest, but then the public got ahold of it and next thing we knew, it was an emotional search engine and became a vital political communications tool for Obama in 2008. The public changed the intent of the technology – and made the bargain on each tool, not the inventor of the technology.
Spammers got a hold of email and turned it into the next Direct Marketing tool. SMS/txt messaging has grown into a tool for bringing people together and helped organize the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine in 2005.
While it is vital to understand “how” the technologies work, it’s most important to understand how they are actually used – and how they are used closes the bargain between the initiator and the end public.
More of the conversation on Twitter search here.
Sailboats race around an anchored ship in the Bedford Basin on a warm and sunny Wednesday evening. Photo: Reed Holmes

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