Social Is Just a Feature Set

The ability to publish, comment and/or share text and media with people is just a feature set.

I don’t want to minimize the nuances of building relationships, communities and online customers through social.

That being said (and the chicken wire rolled out) in the end, new social network or old blog, customer review or private community, these applications all feature one very simple thing: The ability for a person to provide some sort of input and/or share it.

That’s it.

The rest of the increasingly mundane social media conversation seems to me about scaling people skills and applying advertising and public relations to social.

To me that’s a professional skill. It’s a job. And as such much of the social only conversation simply strikes me as a tactical conversation for a professional. In that sense, friend Mark Story’s book Starting Your Career as a Social Media Manager will be a welcome addition to the lexicon.

But let’s be clear. It’s not new, it’s not special anymore, and today’s dialogue about social media excellence rehashes much of what has been said since blogging, Facebook and Twitter first broke on the marketing scene in 2004-7.

It’s really time for edgelings and early adopters to focus on more. Consider how to integrate social into the larger marketing context. That dilemma which faces almost every CMO was why Gini Dietrich and I wrote Marketing in the Round.

Or simply accept that they’ve made a career out of becoming a social media specialist. Hey, there are worse gigs out there.

What do you think? Has the conversation settled into the ongoing debate of best professional practices?

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Geoff Livingston is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop outstanding marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically for business and change. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and has authored three books.

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