Chapter 4 – Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

Strange as it may sound, the notion of Social Networks comes from Academia. In the 1920s, the idea that the modern world was “shrinking” due to the ever-increasing connectedness of human beings became popular. The Hungarian Frigyes Karinthy went a step further and said that any two individuals could be connected through at most five acquaintances – hence the famous 6 degrees of separation – starting from our social network. Unlike The WELL, when Friendster, MySpace and later Facebook and Twitter came along, they were all immediately called “Social Networks”.

Two other buzzwords plagued us in those same years and then disappeared. Coined by O’Reilly to launch a conference and the idea that the Web was back after the Bubble, “Web2.0” is the term used to define a bunch of very diverse websites that had little in common except corny names, rounded edges and a tagcloud. Nobody said it better than Sir Tim Berners-Lee: “I think Web2.0 is, of course, a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web2.0 for you is Blogs and Wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along”.

Together with Web2.0 came the horrible but very telling idea of User-Generated Content (UGC). According to this crude view of the world, people were using – or being used, and being duped into using, if you listen to Richard Stallman – Web-based tools little more than to provide content against which advertisers could place their ads. Then at some point the whole circus started being called “Social Media”. Why the word “‘Media”? Are Social Media what Social Networks become once you have to try to monetise them by sticking ads all over the place?

 

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