Home > PR and social media > Do Social Media Tools Matter?

Do Social Media Tools Matter?

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is your favorite social media tool a digital audio tape?

In the recent PRWeek, Rob Longert – a digital media strategist at M Booth and Associates – wrote about Social Media Tools That Work for PR Pros. It was a good and helpful piece, but it got me thinking.

While I reserve the right to change my mind, today my feeling is that the social media tools we will be using 3 years from today, will look very different from today’s tools.

Is Quora going to be a DAT cassette? History says that vinyl records and cassettes were replaced by CDs, but don’t forget about the often overlooked DAT era…or error as it were. Like its cousin the Betamax, Digital Audio Tapes or DATs were supposed to be the next hot consumer technology. While they didn’t last long, for a period of time, DATs were – well all dat. All the cool kids had them. You know the cool kids, they are the same ones that now, all grown up, have recently purchased a 3-D TV even though there is little to no programing available.

Beware of social media tools. Now, first let me say that I realize we need to use today’s social media tools to do our jobs and I do experiment with a number of them. This criticism is geared toward the so-called social media gurus who focus little on results and focus too much on the cool tools du jour. They people are in fact the real tools.

This is similar to the conversation I’ve had with folks for years. When asked what ‘media relationships’ I can bring to an account or a position, my answer is always to let the inquisitor know that they are asking the wrong question. In a day when high-profile media changes are a daily occurrence, it is more important to know how to place stories and how to pitch media than it is about the Rolodex and what reporters know me by name. Maybe that is a topic for another time.

To summarize this post into a tweet-sized recap. Knowing the trendy tools is a poor substitute for knowing how to create a succesful social media strategy or campaign. And, beware of tools.

Photo from Wikipedia

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  1. January 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Paul — Good analogy. The social media tool landscape is littered with DAT cassettes. I very much could see Quora as the next Friendfeed — everyone rushes in when Scoble starts evangelizing it, then it starts to get gamed and PR people start pitching their clients on it. Then LinkedIn acquires it.

    I agree with you, though, that we do have to experiment with many of these so that we know what tools make the most sense for clients — based upon the objectives and strategy.

  2. January 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the link, Paul.

    I have to agree with you and Ted. Many social media tools lose our attention as fast as they gained it, but there are some tried and true tactics and tools that seem to work.

    It really goes back to understanding the industry and going back to the roots of communications.

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