Some thoughts over coffee about social media

I love all my fellow social media Kool-Aid drinkers.

But there are three things about which I typically disagree with many of them:

1. I believe use of the word “social” misses the mark in describing what’s taking place. Indeed, I believe the use of the word “social” is a hindrance to “the cause” of educating a broader audience regarding online identity and personal expression. (However, for marketing and “search” reasons, I always go with the flow on the use of popular marketing buzz-terms on this blog.)

2. I don’t believe social media — or digital media — “kills” other media. I believe it (they) compliment(s) and add(s) to, and enhance(s) other media. In the 15 years I’ve been immersed in the development or management of online communities and platforms designed to encourage online identity, expression and interaction, I haven’t seen any medium destroyed by social media (although I’ve seen the management of daily newspapers commit suicide on their medium). (Note: I certainly believe new business models related to media kill old business models, but that’s a different debate than the one I typically see waged in the rantosphere.)

3. I disagree with the way in which social media zealots say anyone who doesn’t use a specific online service the way they do, “doesn’t get it.” (My personal belief is that no one fully gets anything.)

Here’s where I probably disagree most with my fellow Kool-Aid drinkers:

I don’t believe we are living in a post-advertising age. And I certainly don’t believe print is dead. (Note: again, for clarification purposes — by “print” I am not referring to a specific “business model” but media that use ink on paper.)

I believe we are living in an exciting time in which traditional advertising is being overhauled dramatically. I believe we will soon be entering into a age in which consumers will have a better — and more “literal” — balance of power with producers and suppliers of products and services. And I believe there will be a better understanding among “producers/creators/evangelists” and “users” that we are a “we.”

But I don’t believe “traditional advertising” will be killed anymore than I believe a new search engine will kill Google.

Where did this post come from? Perhaps it was reading that Starbucks, who did not use traditional advertising in building its mighty (but currently hurting) brand, has started using newspapers, magazines and outdoor media to promote its social media efforts.

Or perhaps it was that I’m drinking a Grande Americano instead of Kool-Aid this morning.