I’m not so easily worried by semantics, but the ambiguousness of social is causing problems. The word is out of control, having become a buzzword as sticky as it is devoid of meaning.
- Is it a social idea if it’s a game that prompts you to post something to Facebook at the end?
- Is it a social idea if it’s a microsite that pulls in Twitter feeds?
- Is Skype a social idea?
- Is a Facebook post a social idea?
- Is Game of Thrones a social idea?
- Is a hashtag a social idea?
- Beer and wings is definitely a social idea.
It’s become the digital equivilant of the term widget (the business school use, not the precurser to apps). Which isn’t a big deal until you have a team working on a social idea, not realizing until the idea is killed (or terrible) that there were 10-different expectations of what a social idea should be.
After all, the Internet is social by design.
But really, an idea needs to be good before it can be social. Or, ideas have the potential to become social if they’re good enough. Things can be done to help out, but social is an outcome, or use case, of an idea. Social networks are places where social behavior can happen, but even there, social is a behavior. It’s not a deliverable any more than viral is.
So let’s get more specific. Words should mean things. Especially in the communications business.