Amazing growth in social media understanding

Post-Its

While us social media nerds might get frustrated that everyone hasn’t seen the light as quickly as we think they should, I’m seeing more and more signs that things are changing for the better.

In many, if not most of my social media strategy sessions, one of the first tasks I ask the group to do is to write down on Post-It notes what they think “social media” means. I ask them to use a single Post-It for a single idea, but to share as many ideas/definitions/concepts as they can in the 1-2 minutes I give them.

Certainly this activity helps me understand the group I’m talking to, but more interestingly it helps me understand where the ideas of social media are at with the non-nerd crowd.

Last week I presented to a client group and, of course, ran this activity. This group was smart, but not necessarily “hip on the social media”. Which is what made their answers so jaw-droppingly impressive. Here’s a sample:

  • People, typically with common interests, interacting with each other online
  • Posting, talking, engaging
  • Interactions to influence thought patterns and responses of a group of individuals
  • Obsessive
  • Media that helps people facilitate conversations, thinking, interaction, understanding
  • User driven electronic communication
  • Places on the web where people go to “see” and be “seen”
  • Huge time consumer
  • Talking/interacting with others on the internet, even if you don’t know them
  • Interest based communities
  • Social clusters
  • People exchanging information
  • Sharing communities
  • Networking with peers
  • Six degrees of separation
  • Whatever you want it to be
  • Interactions & relationships across a vast network without geographic limit

Now if you’re an industry practitioner, this might not seem that impressive. But considering a mere 4-6 months ago I was more likely to hear answers like “blog” and “facebook”, this is a big shift. Like I said back in March, the “innovation” we’re currently seeing take place is “adoption”.