Working on the Working Definition

As mentioned below, I’m building my first ever Social Media presentation to give to a group of wrench.jpgPRSA members next week. So far I have…lots in my head, lots on notes here and there. Nothing on Power Point, yet. No worries — cramming is what I learned in college.

In a Social Media 101 presentation, its best to have a way to define what social media is, right? Trouble with that is, it seems like everyone has a slightly different way to describe what social media is, what its about and why its important. That’s part of the beauty of playing in something so new — we are the ones helping to create what this all means.

Knowing that defining this little term has been an ongoing discussion in many different spaces, I thought I’d throw out my two cents. My current (working) definition reads like this:

Social media is about people coming together in community spaces, both online and off, to participate in creating, managing and sharing content and through conversation.

I’ll admit, I’m way behind on my Google Reader (hello 836 unread posts) and haven’t been active in parallel conversations lately…but thankfully Kyle Flaherty (one of those smart guys I’ve been following since I started getting into this) has been talking about what social media is. He blogged about how social media connects like-minded people online here, and then how people use online tools to make off-line one-on-one connections here.

After I sat in on a webinar Kyle did a few months back, I really started thinking about how conversations take place, both online and not. I think this is a great point to make to the PR people who are comfortable (and good at) reaching out through traditional methods to have conversation with their stakeholders. Social media is another set of wrenches in the toolbox that helps to start, join and enhance those conversations. It’s not a grand master solution, it is a tool.

Agree or agree to disagree? Am I missing something that is important to pass along to a new wave of social media immigrants? D0 you have a better definition or element I might want to consider building into mine? Let me know…


One thought on “Working on the Working Definition

  1. Lauren, firstly thanks for the linkage!

    I think you hit the nail on the head (pun definitely intended); defining social media is always going to be a work in process, mainly because it is a valuable tool in the larger scope of communications. On one day a hammer can be used to nail together some wood, the next you can use it as a beer opener. The same holds true for social media; different people use it differently and it evolves over time.

    Looking forward to seeing the final preso if you post it to the blog.

    Good luck!

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