Is social media the right word?

August 3, 2010

Gary Vaynerchuk recently said that “the worst thing that ever happened to social media is the word ‘media’.” He made an excellent point, in that social media is being seen as something to measure because of the word “media”; clients ask me all of the time how they can measure ROI and how they can get more fans/followers/readers/etc.

However, the term social media is a new incarnation of an older term, social networking, and to change the term now would not only confuse people, but would also take a couple of years to catch on. It’s not like the President can jump on TV and say, “We are now going to call social media ‘social customer service’, so please can we have that added to the next edition of Webster?”

I think that people need to change their perception of social media. Like Gary said, you cannot measure social relationships, good customer service, or kindness, and those are the things that we are encouraging our customers to use in their social media. I think that people need to understand that SOCIAL is the keyword in social media, and not MEDIA.

What do you think? Do you think that the term social media needs to be revamped? Leave a comment with your thoughts!


Elizabeth K. Barone is a web designer and social media marketing consultant for OSC. She likes cookie dough ice cream, reading, writing, and brand new office supplies.

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