Defining social media
Defining social media
Today, I was reminded of the anonymous pharma manager who said 'what's all this talk about social media, what does it all mean, and when did the telephone stop being bloody social anyway?'
'Social Media' feels like such a vague concept. It seems to mean many different things, depending on who you ask…
With the quote in mind, I started my search for a clear definition and ended up on Wikipedia.The Wikipedia passage I favour most is this one: “A common thread running through all definitions of social media is a blending of technology and social interaction for the co-creation of value”.
This catch-all definition may seem broad, even vague, however it is not about a precise definition. It is about the principles of social interaction where value is created for all sides. Social interaction involves dialogue and potentially the building of wider networks and communities. A common mistake is to take on a narrow definition of 'Social Media',i.e. just Facebook and Twitter, as we then completely miss the point.
So do telephones constitute 'social media'? They obviously facilitate one-to-one social interactions remotely, and in groups with (online video) conferencing. If you run a virtual congress for a group of clinicians, allowing them to interact with each other and ask the speaker questions then surely this has to be 'social media'?
Are sales reps armed with iPads a form of social media? By the above definition I would say yes, as you have a dialogue enabled by technology and hopefully some shared value. This iPad detailing, of course, needs to be implemented correctly and it needs to be integrated with other online communication. A true dialogue with the customer has to be enabled across all channels.
There is very little of value on the web that is not social anymore, so the term 'social media' will most likely soon be reduced to simply 'media'… eDetails, websites or any channels that are just used to shout out 'push messages' won't resonate with HCP's and patients anymore. The future is social and it's about dialogue and working together for the 'co-creation of value'.
Instead of defining 'social media', we shouldrather define clear objectives and a strategy. It should be clear with which stakeholders to engage,and where and how to do that. Only in that way will we achieve the intended creation of shared value for all involved, and be involved ina series of integrated conversations rather than performing a traditional pharma monologue.
Written by Gary Monk