Last Thursday I was involved in hosting a workshop on Social Media Marketing for inblackandwhite.tv. The idea is to help marketing people understand how they can turn all the talk and buzz about Social Media (and what ever that may entail) into useful working practices that can be easily applied to their business. The event went well and we got great feedback. I’ve written a brief report at the InBlackAndWhite blog.
I’ve done a few of these things now ov er the last couple of years and I find there is a noticable shift in understanding and awareness of social media. A couple of years ago we were talking about real 101 suff when it came to blogging, social networks, RSS and media sharing. I doubt that a year ago we could have sold out a workshop like this, there just wasn’t the level of awareness necessary to realise that businesses needed to get involved in online conversations.
I keep reading about a social media tipping point and there are many theories about the reason for this: media exposure, celebrity ensorsement, the recession, customer expectation. Whatever the reason people are definitly getting switched on and more and more people outside of the web world are aware of social networks, blogs and sites like Flickr and YouTube .
So now business people at all levels are used to using some of the more common social media tools – or at least they are aware of them. But what struck me last week, although workshop atendees were mostly au fait with terms like Blog, YouTube, Podcast, Facebook and twitter, there was a much lower level of understanding when it came to RSS, RSS readers and specialist search techniques (like Blog searches, twitter search). I was quite surprised at this as I see RSS as the cornerstone of social media. This tells me two things.
1) We need be aware that as social media becomes a term everyone understands, some of the basic technologies that are fundamental to social media have remained hidden from popular awareness.
2) Business aren’t considering listening and integration to be as important as broadcasting.
I’m signing off for now – I’m aware that this last point needs lots of embelishment but I’ve decided to leave that for another day.