Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Categorizing Social Media

Susan Getgood's Nov. 19 post about who should "own" social media, and Scott Bauman's response to her post made me wonder why do so-called professionals even waste their time with trying to categorize where social media fits into a "skill set" or "channel expertise."

Getgood argues:

"The functional lines between our marketing disciplines of PR, direct marketing
and advertising are blurring. Social media marketing requires a blending of
marketing and PR/communications skills. BTW, this line is blurring
everywhere but it is more readily and immediately apparent in the social media
world than offline. But it is offline too. Remember that online social networks
are reflections of the interests and affiliations we have "in real life."
Computer networks simply speed up the effect. "

Why does it matter if social media falls under public relations, marketing or advertising? Trying to classify where a coming-of-age shift in communication should be utilized is irresponsible. Social media should be available to anyone who wants to learn this great tool.

Bauman's reaction to Getgood states:

"Social media doesn't belong to anyone with a particular "skill set" or "channel
expertise." Instead, it belongs to people who understand consumers and how
to engage in them in conversations. The conversationalist could be a PR
person, an interactive agency rep or a direct marketing expert."

I agree with Bauman's analysis that social media should not belong to a specific field.
Why try to monopolize social media when it should be diversified among all these fields? Limiting this knowledge will only be a detriment to a company. Since experts are too busy discussing who should "own" social media, it may be time to teach ourselves.


Susan Getgood said...

If you read back to previous posts as well as this one, you'll find that I absolutely agree that it is counterproductive to argue about which function "owns" social media.

However, the reality of the corporate world is that it has to be somewhere in an organizational structure. I argue therefore that it should be a separate, equal function, rather than "part of" advertising dept. or PR dept. I believe this is necessary because the individuals doing the work need to develop the blended skill set described.

Quite frankly, what we are now calling social media marketing is in fact how marketing overall should evolve.

In a perfect world we wouldn't have to have this discussion at all. But the world ain't perfect.

Lauren Groblewski said...

I agree that we shouldn't have to categorize social media into pr, advertising, marketing etc. Making social media its own separate, equal function might discourage more people from learning it though. If there are people who have that blended skill set and work just in social media, will the advertising or PR department consider learning about social media themselves to be unecessary?

Putnam said...

The reality is if a majority of employees are familiar and fluent in social media it would not have to be "somewhere in the organizational structure," but it could be everywhere.