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Social Media Platforms’ New Mindset

so·cial me·di·a
noun
1. websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

A few news items I read recently got me thinking: Have we completely grown beyond “social media”?

Companies like Snapchat are certainly trying to shed the label. The ‘don’t-call-me-a-social-media-company’ company has dropped the “chat” and is now Snap Inc. The launching of video-recording sunglasses called Spectacles also places Snap firmly in the camera company column. Twitter has also semi-formerly changed its label, moving its mobile app from the “social” category to “news.”

So why the change? Well, there are monetary reasons of course. A broader media concept, one not confined by just the social tag, will bring in more opportunities for advertising money.

It’s a natural progression for companies to become something more than what they were during their infancy. In the spirit of innovation, emerging social media companies already are diversifying their options. Some companies such as Ello put creators first, some are ad-free, others don’t collect data; there are alternative companies who are inherently different than the big players like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The former shy away from the social media tag and cite that their business philosophies and tactics make them much different than the guidelines set forward in the generally accepted definition of social media.

Clients might still see social as just a channel but agencies work to educate brands and instill the idea that social is growing and innovating. It’s an integral part of communication; social networks are no longer just a place to go to connect but have gone beyond that into ‘normal’ every day behaviour. Social tools have become so integrated into everything we do so why should we discuss them like they’re a separate entity or a different medium? Even Facebook, the ultimate social media network, hasn’t referred to itself as a social media company in quite some time (it even a media company these days or something more akin to a technology company?) ‘Social media’ is simply a term we use to describe a certain sector – but is it the right label for companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat? Clearly they don’t think so, so how about we switch up our vocabulary, too. What once were solely social media-mission driven brands are now multi-faceted organizations with numerous ventures and expanding roles in our society. What’s in a name? Let’s change the way we talk about such companies.

Moving beyond social media is a sign of the times and points to the future of digital media. Marketing agencies and social channels now both embrace the mindset that they’re not strictly confined by social. Let’s drop the social, drop the digital (because face it, everything involves a digital element theses days) and create a new norm by using just M E D I A.

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