It’s not about the media, it’s about the social

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This has been the defining belief in my work for some time… “It’s not about the media, it’s about the social”. if you don’t understand this, then you will lose your way down this road of social media. You can’t focus on the technology or you’ll lose focus on what is really important.

I have been in the business of technology for about 15 years, and I’ve seen so many things change that it really does blow my mind. I actually do remember the first time I ever saw someone sending an email message and hearing him explain to me what it was. The conversation went something like this…

Year: 1991

Me: so whatcha doin?
Him: sending an email to my cousin over in the Gulf War.
Me: a what?
Him: an email… stands for electronic mail. I type it up on the computer, send it, and it goes to him over in Iraq to his computer.
Me: Iraq? You mean over in the middle of the desert? No way.
Him: yep, he works on computers for the Army, so he and I have been emailing back and forth about what’s going on.
Me: that is so cool… how long does it take for him to get it.
Him: that’s the cool part… it only takes 2 days.
Me: no way. that is awesome.

Yeah, things change.  I mean, really change.  I chuckle every time I think about that conversation because it reminds me how far we’ve come and how excited I am at what might be coming that I can’t even fathom.  It also reminds me that “it’s not about the media, it’s about the social”.

Right now it is pretty easy to get excited about all the awesome tools that seem to roll out every where you turn.  Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube, and the list goes on and on.  Can you imagine life without them?  And don’t even get me started on all the goodies that we have when it comes to our mobile phones and the keys to the world that reside literally in our pockets.

The bottom line is this… if your focus is on the tools (the media), then you’ll get hit by the bus (perhaps literally) when you aren’t looking.  You’ll miss the most important part… the ‘social’.  What will never change is the need to connect and interact with people.  That has been true forever, and it isn’t going to change… but technology will change.  The ‘media’ will be different 5 years from now than it is right now.  Who knows what will be the hottest thing that everyone just can’t live without.  And honestly… it doesn’t matter.  As long as you are paying attention, you’ll know what the hottest ‘media’ is, so don’t sweat it.

However, if you don’t figure out how to focus on the ‘social’, you won’t go far.  Focus on that, and then you’ll be ready no matter what ‘media’ comes along.  Trust me.

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