Yesterday Marc Meyer and Jason Breed invited me to host #socialmedia chat - an excellent series if you are looking to explore various topics related to social media and 'meet' others who are interested in the same thing. Yesterday the topic was "The Difference between social media and community" which is something that I've been going on about for a bit. The transcript of the chat is here. I don't really have a clear definition of all of the differences - and I would be interested in hearing your perspective in the comments - but I do have a strong opinion that they are different which is shared by many community managers with whom I speak. If you are interested in my perspective you can find it here and here. To me social media is a tactic and about socializing content while community is a strategy and about the people and structure of an organization - but that is not a universal perspective, just mine.
The first question kicked off the chat: What is the difference between social media and community?
@mvacondios Social Media=tool set and Community=mindset
@cmwooll Social Media is a way for the community to interact...
@TransitionalTee If social media will enhance connectivity & sharing, it's worth considering. I'm sure many [communities] thrive w/o.
@monicawright I think there is a slight difference bt socmed and community; comm builds as the "social" happens.
@josemv a community is a group of people sharing sth in common, social media is the means of sharing
@SueOnTheWeb Social media is promotion, either of oneself or ones Co, whilst community is about the common element that binds peeps together
@jasonbreed SocMed is broad term used generically way too much. Community is understood to group people like minded or like interests
@Shanan_S You can have flash mobs within communities. This one is FANTASTIC: http://bit.ly/OzsJy [loved this!]
@RKaiser Community shares interests #socialmedia is the process to do this - so agree with some of your listeners
@monicawright @Marc_Meyer "community as a strategy" is almost like marriage, it's a commitment and requires work. Right on.
An interesting question came up in the process as well, which is: can you 'manage' or proactively facilitate the creation of a community? Participants seemed to fall on both sides of that fence but everyone generally agreed that if it felt forced it would not work.
Another thought emerged which was that maybe social media - used tactically - is the first step in the path toward a community strategy with this quip thrown in by @Marc_Meyer maybe social media is dating and community is living together...
The importance of face to face interactions came up as did the use of social media for bringing an offline community into the new online medium - I think this was a great point as to the importance of cross-platform programming.
The 2nd & 3rd questions were:
- What should a company focus on
- What are the metrics of success for each
Neither of those questions got into sufficient discussions. Which is where I segway into what I learned from facilitating an online Twitter chat:
- Doing multiple questions is hard because the tools are not really meant for synchronous chat so the delay and rapid fire nature of the conversation made it hard to shift gears. The first topic had by far the best discussion.
- There are only so many things you can really dig into in an hour. If you want to get beyond the high level summary of a topic, an hour is only enough time to get specifics around one relatively niche subject.
- The tools are not quite meant to do this... Marc has built a great interface at http://hashtagsocialmedia.com/live to help but I had to switch between that, Twitter search, and Seesmic desktop for different reasons. One - using a new interface for the first time on the day of the chat... not ideal. Two - real time search was a bit more real time in different places... very erratic Twitter API from what I could tell.
- Twitter chats are a great way to meet and have a topical discussion on Twitter. Most of Twitter is a lot of snacking and some bursts of conversation for me so Twitter chats are a great specific time to dig in and broaden conversations to more people.
- While not hard, chatting on Twitter is like a secret handshake that is pretty opaque to people unfamiliar with the concept. For the record, it is a set time with a set topic and a defined hashtag (in this case noon EST on Tuesdays where participants all include '#socialmedia' in their tweets). It's a great example of a groundswell conversation - anyone on Twitter can participate if they choose to.
- I'm not sure if it annoys people who follow me - I do wonder that it might.
- As an individual, I could not keep up. I dropped a lot of conversational balls and comments or questions directed at me specifically. So - if I didn't respond and you participated and wanted my perspective on something - please let me know!
It's fast, furious, and fun - always something I enjoy. Thanks to Marc & Jason for having me and to everyone who participated - great conversation!