• Interesting, though as you said, I think a bit semantics. To consume is to ingest, buy, use, destroy or absorb… and people do consume information. Your point seems more that to ensure effective consumption of services or information, one should engage in multi-channel communications. But this doesn’t mean that constituents don’t consume each channel individually… they might.

    Side note: I’ve noticed a trend among medical and disease related clients who call their constituents “consumers,” because of their relationship with the organizations services and/or provided information.

    • Thanks for the literal definition, Chris. Common use of a term in marketing hasn’t ever convinced me that it is a good practice. Terms like “content marketing,” “audiences” and “consume” are nice ways to remove a practitioner away from their stakeholder and the relationships they are supposed to be building between the org and their communities.

      • You’re welcome. Does common use of words in English convince you to use them, if not simply so that others might understand what you’re conveying?

        I’m not disagreeing that the most effective usage of social media by organizations is to engage and build meaningful relationships, but come on… this is all just word play. Does the movie you’re watching on NetFlix “engage” you? Or has NetFlix really built a relationship with you simply because they asked for your rating or use algorithms to determine other movies of possible interest? (often wrong for me, btw).

        In the literal sense, some people do consume information on Twitter or Facebook or Quoroa and little more. Some organizations distribute information using social networks and little more. Case in point, @BethKanter has 1700 subscribers and is basically a publishing tool. I could even use your same argument about your use of the word “communicators,” suggests a 1-way transmission of information.

        So is the point of this post that you’re working on your next book, the Livingston Marketing Dictionary? Or that organizations looking to build meaningful relationships should look above and beyond simply feeding information to constituents and use multi-channel communications to reach them where they’re at? I’m hoping the later, and I’d love to see more real examples of how you think communicators/marketers/organizations/leaders/whatevers can do that with their constituents/consumers/users/prospects/followers/fans/whatevers.

        • Damn disqus didn’t like my use of “return snark” and “/end snark” on the first sentence. Oh well.

        • There was no snark in my comment. I was being 100% forthright and direct in my beliefs and views on the topic. Have a good day, Chris.

  • There was no snark in my comment. I was being 100% forthright and direct in my beliefs and views on the topic. Have a good day, Chris.

  • I actually think people do consume a lot of media, social and otherwise… that may not be their intention when they start, but its the reality of the flood of media options that exist today. It doesn’t to be a bad thing… mass consumption creates a much greater likelihood of encountering something you didn’t expect or anticipate, versus going very specifically to one channel or participating in one activity knowing full well what you are likely to find there.

    There are some organizations that choose to benefit (read: monetize) by supporting the flood, by encouraging consumption over the more direct connection and engagement. There are others who will need, or only have an opportunity to, enter the digital/social information world in limited ways or at particular times — if they can’t connect directly or engage, they won’t accomplish what they need to accomplish. Those groups need to be much more strategic about what they say, how much they put out, who they try to reach etc.

    Individuals are (I would hope at least) accessing various forms of media with a specific purpose in mind, they are looking for something – something to do, learn, feel, etc. That doesn’t mean they can’t consume, broadly, in my opinion, but it does put the burden on the individual to be able to sort and make sense of the flood of information. If an organization understands what that individual wants, they can help. If an organization doesn’t understand, or choose not to tailor and focus on the individual or small group habits, it will be much more challenging to make the connection you can measure/sustain/do something with.

    I consume a lot, and don’t see a problem with it. I also engage and seek out information with purpose and intent. Its a balance, but I would just be careful to dismiss consumption on semantic or other grounds.

  • Pingback:No One “Consumes” Social Media | Geoff Livingston's Blog | Social Media Exchange

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  • Pingback:Social Media Alert – “Social Media” | SMLRT

    […] media or a variant of that in market research and social media wonk discourse? Of course, media. read more Geoff Livingston’s Blog read […]

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  • I guess what I’m getting out of this (aided by the comments) is there are various depths of consumption/use spread across media sources and outlets. If I scan a page of news, I am experiencing it at a different level compared to reading a blog post and clicking through to all its links. Since media sources and viewing devices are many and varied, it’s important to offer content in ways relevant to that device’s user. Easy, right? I read this post about transmedia storytelling over at @forwardmapworks:twitter last month that I thought was interesting, and contained similar themes

  • Geoff, thanks for linking to the blog about consuming social media. You make some good points about the semantics and I appreciate your perspective. Cheers!


  • makes complete sense, if pushed for a verb about what i do in social media it’s participate, much different than consumer for sure. That’s why it’s more difficult, it’s more like exercise.

    There is a downside to it not being consumption. Example, yesterday i had a surprisingly good lunch at a local restaurant. I was with an engaging social participant having a good conversation. I didn’t take the time to check in or review the excellent meal. That was a week ago. Social requires participation. This is what concerns me about social media, it’s not consuming. It’s not about sitting on the couch and clicking the remote. In order for it to grow it needs active participants, it’s a lot like a good democracy.

    All the best.

    • Exactly. Consume indicates buy in today’s culture or eat. While a literal definition works, the common vernacular seems off. So when I see top ranked marketers pushing the consumption of social media, I see exploitation.

  • I’d be lapse if I didn’t point out “Advertising is War” by Jerry Michalski (old blog, you have to scroll down) – it also has a rant against the word “consumer” as a bonus. Enjoy!

    • Thank you, @Howardgr:disqus ! I knew I’d like this as soon as I saw these words, ”
      The Idiot Prince Will Have His War
      ” LOL! Good to see I am not the only one with a pet peave on the nomenclature.

  • Social Media is nothing more than Social interaction. you probably cannot use it marketing way because you are not going to get the real interesting users. but you can use it as alternative when user finds your website by searching in search engine then he can like its facebook page. next time he will find there.

  • Pingback:Social Fundraising Is About People, Not Media | Inspiring Generosity

    […] The reality about us — people — who donate is that we rarely consumer any one form of media. In fact, none of us really see our entertainment or reading or conversations as an act of consuming. […]

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  • delicious and yummy food…Similar to social media 

  • I truly get pleasure from while I read your blogs and its instagram followers

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