This is a translation of one of my previous posts in Swedish – Sociala medier är dött om fem år!
Working with social media, and letting go of the (imagined) control over the message, is something businesses still have a really hard time doing.
Being used to one-way communication, deciding on that to say, how to say it and when to say it, it is really hard to let go and let consumers and others on the Internet participate in the conversation and jointly create the message or brand.
However, as many before me have realized, it is not really a choice anymore. Businesses are already discussed on blogs, in forums and communities, not to mention instant messaging services or face to face. It is better to join in.
Actually, that is the only chance to be able to influence the conversation taking place, answer questions, get feedback and “put out fires” before they take hold and spread.
It is pretty interesting that the question of whether to start communicating in social media or not is even taking place. Besides the fact that businesses are already being discussed, more traditional digital media, like newspapers online, are becoming more and more social. Readers can comment on articles, blogs referring to articles are linked to from the article, communities are created and so on. Soon we will not talk about “social media”. What I now call more “traditional digital media” will become more and more social, and we will not have a need to separate them anymore. Media becomes increasingly more digital, and digital media becomes increasingly more social. In five years, “social media” is dead, and we will only have “media” again, just like we don’t call it a “digital camera” anymore, but just a camera. What company doesn’t want to be featured in media?
Businesses that choose not to engage in social media, and stick to that choice, can close down their communications departments in five years, and agencies that don’t know how to deal with social media might just as well throw in the towel. It is time to learn! =)