I wish social media weren’t so cool.

There’s too much hype, too many buzzwords. It makes it seem like a gimmick, a fad, something that’s going to get played out.

Even now I roll my eyes at the endless Mashable posts about “engaging your fanbase” or commercials that end with “join the conversation.” It feels trite already, doesn’t it?

And that’s really not fair because what’s happening is meaningful and real. It’s a movement, a mindset, a rejection of tradition. I hate to see social media reduced to a checklist of websites and cliches.

So what’s the difference between how social media is often presented and how I see it?

The superficial view of social media is that it is:

  • A new channel for brand messages
  • A way to go viral
  • “Community Engagement”
  • A customer service outlet

To me, social media is:

  • An avenue for providing valuable information, entertainment or services
  • An opportunity to multiply impressions on shareworthy content
  • Connecting with many individuals in a true and compelling way
  • A shift toward brands being more responsible to consumers

I believe in what I do, and I look forward to the day social media stops being cool and just starts being the way things are.

The clever images accompanying this post come from Hugh MacLeod, who shares his inspiring thoughts on social media at http://gapingvoid.com and sells original work at http://gapingvoidgallery.com.