Social Media Evolution and Revolution
I attended the Council of PR Firms’ Critical Issues Forum this week, where social media was the topic of the day. It’s clear that everyone regards this new (and quickly changing) medium as very real. I think we can say that it’s certainly here to stay. Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Obama, went so far as to say that the 2012 election will be the "Twitter election."
It's no secret! According to former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, social media’s continued surge and influence will likely make the 2012 U.S. presidential election the "Twitter Election."
During one of the panel sessions, executives from Target, ESPN, SAP and others, made a few interesting points:
- Loose or tight relationships, does it matter? SAP mentioned that they have 2.8 million members engaged through their social media channels. Wow! But then they went on to question how tight the relationships are with the company. Hmmm. Does the tightness of relationships matter?
- It’s where your customers are: Technology and the use of smart phones have made it unquestionably clear that customers want to receive information through social media platforms.
- It’s just another channel: Social media has many unique attributes, but it is really just another channel through which information is delivered. The newness of social media is going away as it becomes the new mainstream.
- It’s great for listening: Each of the panelists agreed, social media is the best market research available.
- Social media and social revolution are linked: Regimes are toppled, presidents are elected and social movement is amplified and activated (e.g. Occupy Wall Street). Facilitating community engagement or movement are important and real factors. Again, as Gibbs pointed out, the 2012 U.S. presidential election is likely to be the “Twitter Election.” Wow.
- Social media has blurred the lines: Marketing departments are exploiting pay-to-play in the social media world (for example paying bloggers). If marketers try to blur the lines, PR must protect the medium.