The words "Social Media" have become the most abused words in the last year.  The abuse has usually come from the agency world.  Instead of attempting to create advertising that inspired brand engagement  or "conversations" or even purchase, agencies spent a year attempting to jump on a bandwagon well after it passed by.

At my last speaking gig on Tribes Don Barber the moderator introduced me as an "expert" in Social Media.  When I took the stage I quickly corrected that statement. "I am a practitioner in the sport of marketing products and or services to people. I just happened to have been born into the digital practice. Anyone who claims that they are an "expert" in social media is full of shit."  The real definition of Social Media is a person who uses their persona to broadcast messages both through physical word-of-mouth and digital media therefore making them the media channel. The medium and the message have converged.  The only experts are people who have knowledge of human psychology and sociology.

When I saw Matt J McDonalds' post on Simple Social Media Truths - I had to repost them here.

1. Everyone thinks they are a social media expert.
2. Everyone is not a social media expert.
3. Not every company should have social media initiatives.
4. We’re all still figuring this out.
5. Conversations are important, but not as important as some people will have you believe.
6. Traditional advertising isn’t dead and won’t be for a while, if ever.
7. Blogging is hard work.
8. Twitter will not make or break you.
9. Don’t always cave to the mob.
10. The barriers to action are now so low that it’s incredible easy to act without thinking it through.
11. If you speak your mind, you are going to piss someone off eventually.
12. There’s no excuse to not be listening to the conversations online.
13. If the words “unless we get caught” are part of your plan, quit now.
14. Purists, Pessimists, and Doomsayers are almost always wrong.
15. The wrong way to do things is always the easiest.
16. There is still a ton of potential in this space.

I have a few to add.

  1. A widget is not an idea or insight.  It is a mechanism that facilitates easy sharing across digital media
  2.  Anyone who broadcasts his or her message is seeking recognition by their peers.
  3. Word of mouth marketing is giving people a reason to talk about
    your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation
    to take place.
  4. Social Media is part art and part science.  there is no one formula or tool that can make your brand famous.
  5. Give people a story worth repeating.
  6. Be Yourself! If you are not people will not buy you or your stories.
  7. Marketers should be prepared to listen, learn and change quickly.
  8. Broadcasting your message without a real way for consumers to talk back is not Social Media.
  9. There IS a difference between "organic" and "amplified" social media.  And consumers know it.
  10. You cannot create a "viral" video - only consumers who view it can make it "viral".
  11. Content & Stories remain King.  Figure out what your story is and tell it.

In 2009, we should only laud and recognize marketers, agencies and consumers who become
practitioners and inspire real conversations based on an insight or by
listening to what people desire and need from their brands.  If you look at the landscape today the companies who understand this are practicing, listening, learning and now selling in spite of the economic depression.

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What are your Social Media truths?  What annoys you the most about Social Media and the so called "experts"?  How will you improve the marketing landscape in 2009?  Let me know!

ON: YOU & A Few New Media Truths via @jpenabickley