I think I have "Social Media" figured out!

Okay, after a full 24 hours of soul-searching, I think I've got it. Bear in mind that I live in a mental world of metaphors... and that's what it to come up with the following, with full props to Rick and Mylk and everyone who works on the excellent Social Media Breakfast here in the Twin Cities...
We're looking forward to the upcoming CPBMSP #23! This month's Breakfast will continue to explore the new (but rapidly maturing) phenomenon of "Cocktail Parties" with a multitude of topics:

  • Drambuie vs. Glayva: Bringing Variety to your Cocktails!
  • Marketing plastic storage containers through Cocktail Parties
  • How to mix Selling Candles and Sipping Cocktails
  • Cocktails and Cooking: Hold a Pots and Pans Party!
In planning our upcoming meetings, we're also hoping to have a discussion about some emerging uses of Cocktail Parties:

Some religious groups will gather in homes in what they call "Bible Studies;" since the consumption of cocktails at these gatherings is more limited than usual, are they truly "Cocktail Parties"?

Art galleries are begining to hold Cocktail Party gatherings where the focus is on discussion of the art rather than monetizing the relationships with the artists.

And on the artistic front, actors will sometimes greet theater-goers after a performance; is this kind of activity something that we'll see more of in the Cocktail Party space?

See where I'm going with this?

It really boils down to one big "DUH!": "social media" is just one means or venue for conversations -- for engaging in relationships. There's a little bit of value in talking about venue itself, and it's inevitable that (some) people will jump to the "how can we make money from this?" question. But if probing of "social media" as a definable, tangible "thing" ends there, there's not much point.

Today's SMBMSP discussion of social media in health care was a great example of the (potential) value of "social media" as it's used for some sort of societal benefit -- to make people more healthy, in this case. For me, the hope of these tools (or any technology) is that it can be used for some sort of "good" rather than used for its own sake... and that hope is either really hard or really easy to get a handle on.

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