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This article was published on January 6, 2012

5 things about social media you need to stop saying in 2012

5 things about social media you need to stop saying in 2012

Now that everyone from Rupert Murdoch to puppies have Twitter accounts, I think it’s safe to assume that here, at the start of 2012 social media has finally embedded itself into our society.

Time then to wave goodbye to some of those well-worn (and in some cases wildly inaccurate) phrases we’ve been using about social media over the past few years and embrace the truth, well as I see it anyway…

Okay, let’s start with…

“It’s all about the conversation…”

Whilst I’m happy to admit that social media is all about interactions I’m actually not a huge fan of this mantra of a seemingly small army of ‘social media trainers’ because it’s given far too many people the impression that social is its own catalyst for conversation when it isn’t. The countless abandoned social media channels out there are a testament to this – set up by people who were sold the idea that social was a panacea to all their digital marketing woes only to find that consumers didn’t actually appear in droves the moment they signed up on Twitter.

The fact is that social in isolation, especially when you’re kick-starting it just isn’t enough to spark that elusive conversation. A fully integrated approach, where your social channels are present or at least mentioned on your website, newsletters and advertising, as well as engaging content that informs, entertains and rewards is going to provide far more satisfying results.

“It’s not about technology”

Okay, let’s see – Hootsuite, Google Analytics, Pagemodo, Votigo, WordPress, Twittercounter, Facebook Insights – those are just some of the tools and platforms I utilise every day to effectively manage, monitor and report on the social media channels I look after in my job, and believe me I could use a good many more if I had the inclination or the time.

As I see it, social and technology are deeply intertwined and at the very least, a basic understanding of the tools available for social and how they work is essential if you want to manage social networks at the best possible level and offer interesting, innovative and engaging experiences. You wouldn’t call yourself a web designer just because you can surf the net – so don’t call yourself a social media manager just because you’ve worked out how to tweet or post on a Facebook page.

“Email (or in some cases ‘the Web’) is dead! Long live social!”

Don’t get me wrong, I often think that in some cases the features of social networks like Facebook and Google+ could work well for businesses and that for large companies, ‘social enterprise’ solutions such as Jive or Telligent are plausible alternatives to the usual methods of internal communication but seriously, the day that social replaces email is still a way off for most of us.

My feeling is that this is because the functionality we’ve got used to with email hasn’t been replaced by anything better for everyone, and that social platforms need to achieve a higher level of ubiquity before this can actually happen anyway. I don’t want to sound like a naysayer here though – I’d love to see this kind of evolution happen eventually.

“QR is dead! Long live Augmented reality!”

I know it’s common for overzealous tech bloggers to ring in the new by having it usurp something else but in the case of QR codes vs Augmented Reality, they seriously need to change the record. We’re talking about a proven technology that’s both easy to use and implement being replaced by one that, although offering great potential is still, well…clunky.

It’s not even ‘apples for apples’ when comparing these two either – QR is an effective means of tying print and digital together whereas as AR is a potential means of tying well everything and digital together, I think it’s time we accepted the difference.

“Facebook is evil! What’s it doing with my data?”

….but you’re still on it, right?

This is an opinion that’s not going to make me popular with the more reactionary of you out there but sorry, that hugely useful (in some cases essential) and entirely free social network we call Facebook isn’t a birthright – you pay for it with your data and as a result it tries to sell you stuff, just like your television/radio/magazine does.

I’ve personally never found Facebook ads to be particularly disruptive when using the platform, especially compared to some of the banner ads that still plague some dark corners of the Internet, in fact in some cases I’ve even found them to be quite useful because they bring my tastes to me rather than have me go and search for them.

Yes, I understand that no one likes the idea of their life and personality being categorised in this way but when I think about the data created here I mainly see the benefits rather than reaching for the proverbial tin foil hat.