Nobody at the Conversational Marketing Summit could agree on what "engagement" means. Today, the term under debate was "media company." What is a media company anyway? Is it a publisher? Does it sell advertising? I didn't hear a whole lot of consensus during the Next Wave of Social Media panel hosted by Chas Edwards. Is Digg a media company? Is Twitter? One thing I think most of us can agree on: Seth Goldstein's comment that all media companies today are suspended between innovation and fear. I suspect that's true of pretty much everyone at this point.
It made me think about the life span of the term "social media," which brought to mind something my grandmother used to say. When I visited her on Saturdays, she'd often ask if I wanted to see a "motion picture," which sounded odd and redundant until I realized that the idea of motion in film was a relatively new phenomenon for her. That's what I imagine the term "social media" will sound like to my son when he grows up, if people even use it anymore; quaint and old-fashioned, from a time way back at the turn of the century when people only had boring old one-way media.
But the way we talk about social media still seems very one-sided. We are used to being experts, to knowing our tools and how to use them, to knowing our metrics and our stats and how to plan campaigns. Guess what? We are, each of us, unlearning and relearning everything we ever thought we knew about this business. And campaign? That's military language. Buh-bye.
Now we talk about co-creation and community and conversation, right?
So where are the customers in all these industry events? Where are the companies we sell to--and the people they sell to?
Maybe we start with some of that co-creation we've been talking about. Maybe we just ask. I moderated a panel at the Cloud Summit the other day, with Oren Michels of Mashery and Jay Hallberg of Spiceworks. Jay was talking about how, as part of his planning process, he actually asks his customers how he should market to them.
So simple it's brilliant.
I dare you to try it. For that matter, I dare myself.