“This is why people are using social media tools, as a big gross band-aid!”

Are companies using social media to build relationships? Or as damage control because they don’t have a clue how to be real with their customers? (Tara Hunt understands 21st century marketing challenges. In that, she’s rare.)

Put “social” before “media”

Todd Defren, guest-blogging on David Armano’s blog, says

When every single person with an Internet connection is empowered to publish content that can be promoted, shared, and indexed forever, it changes the game from “merchandizing” to “people pleasing.” It was always supposed to be that way, of course, but the myriad layers that existed between the brand and the masses called for more quantifiable processes: “how many visits to the website” trumped “are we making people happy?”

I can’t think of a clearer way to make that point. He goes on to make the point I’ve been trying to make for the last four years, since I started writing, thinking, and talking about what’s come to be called “social media” – it’s more about the social, less about the media. Businesses at every scale have to learn to enable, manage, and nurture relationships – with peers, with employees and contractors, and especially with customers. We have technologies that support and sustain those relationships, so everything is disintermediated, we can be more direct with everybody, we can make amazing and fulfilling connections every day… but we have to get past the abstract thinking that characterized broadcast thinking, mass marketing. (Thinking how, several years ago, I pissed off a potential client who kept talking about the role of the consumer on the “web 2.0” site he wanted to build. I finally wrote the word consumer on the board, drew a circle around it, and a line through the circle. There is no consumer, I told him. These are people, and you’ll have to build relationships with them… the consumer abstraction will get in the way. Ouch. He didn’t like that at all…) [Link]