Dec. 23 – Is Blogging and Social Media New or Retro?


Whoville traditions

This is an entry in our daily Internet Marketing Advent Calendar series. Each day your favorite marketing elves Kasi and Amanda will focus on a new topic to get your internet marketing in order before the start of the new year.

Holidays are all about traditions – going to church with the family, Christmas dinner, hanging old ornaments on the tree, carols, and any other tradition you can think of. Even when we think we are starting a new tradition, it usually stems from an existing one.

This year was the social media boom. Users generating their own content for education, amusement, gaming, sharing news et al. Was this a completely new phenomenon, or is this ‘retro’ just with new tools?

Participatory Culture

NPR had a story last night (embedded in the bottom of this post) that peaked my interest on video games and participatory culture. The argument is that creating our own content, video game levels, music, and sharing our stories is recycling trends from the past. Academics argue that in the past humans provided and created their own entertainment and shared their stories through folk culture practices like square dancing, quilting and folk singing. Then we went through a period of wanting to BE entertained – watching shows on TV, why make music when there are plenty of hits on the radio, etc.

So is social media new?

The tools are new. Twitter is new. Facebook is new. Blogs are pretty new. Creating and sharing content, your reviews of products, services and sellers are not new.

When you take away the shiny tools what you find is the need that created those tools in the first place:

  • A need for better communication
  • Free information distribution networks
  • Desire to know our network better
  • Desire to know sellers better
  • Ability to reach a larger geographic area
  • Access to multiple sides of the story
  • Ability to express your opinion
  • Give feedback
  • Lower buying risk by knowing sellers better

So, even if we think we created some type of new practices, perhaps we did not. What we have are new tools of communication and they should be treated like that. Having a Facebook page is not a communication strategy – it is a tool for communicating. Remember when creating your social media strategy what you are trying to communicate, who you want to reach and how you plan on executing it. Don’t get sucked into the tools because as NPR told me last night – there is nothing new here culturally, just some new ways of executing it.

Read the rest of the Internet Marketing Advent Calendar