May 12, 2015
Social Media Integration Theory
The initial readings and video for our first Module this week were structured largely around the impact social media has had on society. While the article “Mind of Mass Media (2010)” and “Social Media Integration Theory (2011)” have been published for several years, the recent iteration of the video, “Social Media Revolution 2015 (2015)” demonstrated the subject matter is still, if not more so, relevant.
In the first article, “Mind of Mass Media,” it was of interest to see a quick historical account of how civilizations have seen each advancement of communication the inevitable destruction of some previous form. Rather than noting an adaptation or integration of the new channel or format, we’ve seen the “slippery slope” analogy of the end of some predecessor. TV was believed to be the end of radio, however terrestrial, satellite and even Internet radio not only persist but are growing sectors of music consumption.
The second article is fascinating from the perspective of the slow adoption rate of businesses and brands to shift or move into the spaces where their consumers are engaging. What I found of interest was the initial study’s review of the effect of a brand through social media toward that of a consumer. What I would have liked to have read more about was the consumer’s journey toward following or engaging the brand. Were they a fan/follower prior to purchase, or was the purchase/interaction the driving force behind following the brand?
Additionally, while reading the article, I was reminded of Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) (2011) ” which was written at about the same time as both the study and the article. At a high level, ZMOT states that similarly a consumer’s journey is no longer linear in fashion. Instead, through varying points of communication and contact with a message or brand (especially with regards to advertising), the consumer will make the decision to purchase, or not, from your company, at varying and potentially unpredictable interactive touch points. This makes it challenging for brands to not only coordinate communication efforts within a consumer segment or vertical, but to ensure all communications are aligned or in synergy as the consumer may choose to act off any touch point.
The video on the Social Media Revolution 2015 by Erik Qualman, which might be the fourth of fifth version of the video I’ve seen, continues to demonstrate not only how large these social platforms are becoming with users, but also the amount of engagement, impact, and effectiveness they can have toward communicating ideas globally. However, each instance of the video, while occasionally pulling forward-looking data, has yet to highlight the future of the channels or overall engagement.
As communicators and marketers, it’s our job to ensure not only our awareness of these channels, but also how our customers, guests, fans and key stakeholders interact and engage so as to provide the best level of experience and customer satisfaction at any point in the consumer’s unique journey.
To answer your first question, I think that it’s likely a combination of both. We have much greater access to a broader amount of information, as you posed, and the interest in being the “first to know” drives that desire to know immediately, even information that may not be accurate. I think that because we have a website like Snopes.com (Links to an external site.) to assist in tracking what’s real and fake, only shows that speed to market (or communication) is running faster than an interest in legitimacy.
The second question is great, because I tend to think societies or individuals will leap-frog to catch up. In looking at countries that have adopted television/cable, many jumped directly to satellite offerings to avoid the infrastructure costs of cables, poles, etc. The same was true with the ability to pop-up a cell tower anywhere, even a portable truck until a permanent installation could be adopted. The dominant language or form of communication seems to bring along the stragglers in either adoption or adaption. It may take time and resources to accomplish, but the barriers are likely to be language itself and perhaps not the technology, format, or engagement.
To answer your first question, I’d lean on the biggest conversation we probably had in our Web Research class last semester, and that’s the loss of privacy and increased ability to track/locate a specific individual. I think on the subject I had asked which was worse, sites that users submitted their own personal details, or ones that covertly tracked it? Overall, consumers are lacking an understanding of what and how their behaving online and where that information is stored for ease of retrieval. Ultimately, I think we’ll see increases in identity theft, even at the simplest levels of impersonating someone else on a channel. Twitter currently allows for “spoof” accounts, which can make any authentic voice hard to break through.
For your second question, I’d like to think it’s cyclical. These types of networks and interactions seem to be embraced by users with such interest, and therefore they continue to propagate both the platforms and the trends. I guess the question is will attention spans actual diminish to the point of no return, or will true multitasking/omni-tasking of communication exist? I found myself today able to ask a question of one colleague, not really “listen” the question being asked of me, but was able to answer the question posed of me during the pause of the first team member who I was inquiring. This isn’t normal and likely a result of our daily meetings, but I think demonstrates how communication may evolve to where we can think one subject, converse verbally on a second, and write/text/email on our phones a third.
Mass Media, MMC6400, Web Theory,