Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social Media...social what???

Having worked in the public relations (PR) industry for more than 15 years, I can honestly say that I today still love what I do. It's exciting, challenging, strategic, tactical and creative all at the same time. However, the last few years have really put a damper on my collegiate PR instruction. Traditional PR, while still a foundation, is undergoing a metamorphosis towards social media.

What IS social media? The simplest way to define it is so say that social media (sites, ezines, blogs, digital applications) use highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques to turn communication into 'interactive dialogue.' And this is the crux of the discussion---'interaction.'

Now, put aside the fact that I dislike this word. To this day, I consult my trusty Webster's Dictionary to make certain that I spell it correctly as it was THE word that lost me the regional spelling bee when I was a teenager. Alas, interaction is what makes new communications mediums so much more exciting. They stimulate not just one-to-one communication, but one to limitless numbers of communication and broadcasting capability.

As a PR consultant, I know well the advantages of social news and social media. You can instantly gain interest in a product, company, or campaign with the push of a button--which is invaluable to a company's bottom line. The key is to locate, dissect and initiate social media campaigns that have the greatest reach for a targeted demographic. For example, is the blogosphere more useful to your client than a traditional impression in the New York Times? Maybe. Would an appearance on MSNBC be more beneficial than an exclusive on VentureBeat.com? It all depends on your client and their ultimate goals.

A highly regarded media company (Burrelles Luce) released, earlier this year, their list of the 2010 Top Media Outlets (the ones that influence the most readers/viewers). Maybe you too will find these lists interesting....

Top 5 English Language Blogs
1. The Huffington Post
2. Gidmodo
3. TechCrunch
4. Mashable
5. BoingBoing

Top 5 Newspapers
1. The Wall Street Journal
2. USA Today
3. The New York Times
4. The Los Angeles Times
5. The Washington Post
(Sidenote: As a New Englander, I was personally surprised to both the Boston Globe (#18) and the Boston Herald(#64), on this list)

Top 5 Magazines
1. AARP The Magazine (really?)
2. AARP Bulletin (are you kidding--the Top 2 spots!)
-- This information is useful as it proves out the demographic that is still reading magazines....
3. Reader's Digest
4. Better Homes and Gardens
5. National Geographic

Top Social Networks
1. Facebook

2. MySpace

3. YouTube
4. Tagged
5. Yahoo! Answers
(Note: Twitter came in at #6)

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