Digital media and social networks

Social media as a concept and some traditional media concepts may need some revamping. Yesterday we read this post by Judy Shapiro: “Why I have begun to hate the term Social Media“, which is the perfect start for something we had started writing a couple of days ago, following another post we read about the fact that  footballer Lionel Messi started a Facebook page and seven hours later  he had 7 million ‘likes’.

“So while not every business will even dream of having the same social media success as Messi, there’s a useful tip here – find the key influencers in your sector and make sure they let their network know about you.” The Wall, Social, marketing, media blogged.

Yes and no.  If you look at communication interventions and media options from a 21st Century media and networks perspective, it might be difficult to find “key” global influencers inherent to a specific sector or business perspective.   When the internet became a new communication and exchange space, information became granular and multimedia content that was stored and disseminated by means of diskettes, CDs and the like started moving to the cloud. It happened with business information management as well as with the consumption of entertainment by way of music, images, movies and  TV Shows. A lot of this is now circulating, shared and re-mixed online by young people specially but also by business and journalists, and it’s starting to expand via middle aged internet literate people increasingly.

Consider Vimeo and YouTube for video clips, numberless blogs and social platforms like MySpace and Facebook, and then Twitter to name a few.  These and other platforms are where the rules of interaction,  reproduction and dissemination are not the same as those that guided the traditional advertising agents and marketing gurus up to recent times.  Today the concept of digital media has become a social means of interaction and “we the media” means ecologies, which are conformed following tribes and networks of shared interests, with a diverse scope of degrees of engagement. In these new asynchronous  and real time  ever changing environments, the former turf of traditional media has also started to intertwine.  On April 9th  we heard on TV news (TPA) that the father of a Spanish journalist that was held captive in the Middle East, learned via a Facebook friend who is also a journalist, that his son had been released.  Who produces what and who consumes what, when and where, responds more to the influences of diverse networks of followers and more personalized routines of attention and significance.

Global advertising companies used to competing  for global accounts,  and putting together budgets and ideas to create memorable prize winning ads, will probably continue to do so.  But the behavior of their audience will have changed, just like screens moved from cinemas to homes, and like different forms of content moved to the cloud and recently to downloadable Apps.  Business models have changed -or should be changing aswell- while screens have continued to replicate and become mobile, indoors and outdoors,  where formal signage also became digital.  The “internet literate” behave with a higher degree of autonomy, they create, share, produce and consume at the same time.   Speakers and teachers, politicians and advertisers who are still following the old broadcasting model of one-to-many may soon find, that they are preaching to an audience that might not be following a word they say.