Remembering “Social”

May 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

We all “tweet” now, but birds did it first – and arguably still do it better.

I do believe in evolution – the evolution of language.

Today’s technology gives us endless examples of words evolving – “twitter” among them – not to mention complete new word forms. Mostly, I embrace this evolution, as long as the mutation is monitored and understood. One word – social – has me all a-twitter of late, particularly when used as “social media.” Is it really “social” if the nearest life form is the Lithium Ion battery in your laptop? I say “No.”

I fully embrace the new social media and all it can do, but it can’t do everything. In fact, without a better understanding of what it really means to be “social,” this new media will fail those who want to use it to their advantage. Product marketers, news organizations, musicians and more need to remember the meaning of social. It goes beyond just “associations” with others to include the friendly and genial “company” with others.

Recently released research conducted by WOM research and consulting firm Keller Fay Group (and described by Media Post) serves the topic well. According to this research, the majority of Word of Mouth discussions of brands and products takes place off-line. The online social media world is important, no doubt, and is expanding rapidly. But the office water cooler can have a bigger impact on brand discussions than even the loudest tweets.

The Oxford English Dictionary has a “twitter” reference dated back to 1374 and credited to Chaucer. Ashton, you know about this?

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