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Monday, November 24, 2008

Symbols from Our Past

I'm a sucker for nostalgia - and I love The Wizard of Oz nearly as much as Roman Holiday and Sound of Music. That's why this new ad from Pillsbury will send me shopping to ensure there are plenty of Pillsbury crescent rolls on the Thanksgiving dinner table. The Pillsbury ad is posted on the WSJ online website. Click the link to view.

The moment I saw the first clicking of heels three times, I thought - there's no place like home. A few seconds later, I was clicking my heels and eagerly awaiting the message built upon this symbol from our past. Home is calling.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is Social Media Media?

An article in Advertising Age reports that the GM for interactive marketing and innovation at P&G, Ted McConnell, questions whether marketers are hi-jacking social community space. He reportedly said, "I have a reaction to that as a consumer advocate and an advertiser," he said. "What in heaven's name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?"

So my first question to you is - are social media marketers infringing on space you'd rather have free of marketing?

Please comment to this post with your opinions!

My view of social media as a marketing platform has always been that brands only belong in the space if they are contributing to the dialogue and adding value to those they reach. When brands participate in the conversation and are valued for the relationship, it's not hi-jacking.

McConnell went on to say this (as reported in AdAge): "Who said this is media? Media is something you can buy and sell. Media contains inventory. Media contains blank spaces. Consumers weren't trying to generate media. They were trying to talk to somebody."

This peaked my curiousity so I took a look at the definitions of media.

There are 11 definitions offered by The Free Dictionary and these in particular seem relevant.
1. Something, such as an intermediate course of action, that occupies a position or represents a condition midway between extremes.
2. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.
3. An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred: The train was the usual medium of transportation in those days.
4. pl. media
a. A means of mass communication, such as newpapers, magazines, radio, or television.
b. media (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The group of journalists and others who constitute the communications industry and profession.
5. pl. media An object or device, such as a disk, on which data is stored.
6. pl. media
a. A surrounding environment in which something functions and thrives.
b. The substance in which a specific organism lives and thrives.
c. A culture medium.
a. A specific kind of artistic technique or means of expression as determined by the materials used or the creative methods involved: the medium of lithography.
b. The materials used in a specific artistic technique: oils as a medium.

You can probably see where I'm going with this - social communities definitely fit the intent of the word media. Consumers generate content for the social media space, just as journalists create content for mass media. The question should not be - is this media; the question is how can we nurture the environment and the content transferred via the environment in way that allows the community to benefit.