November 18, 2009


Posted in Social Media at 9:21 pm by R

Being that the field I’m now in is relatively new (it didn’t exist when I graduated college), there’s the issue of definition. It’s been stated here before that there is no “expert” in social media, and I maintain that’s true.

So, the thing to do then, is to define what we who practice in the field of social media actually do.

Like a Wikipedia entry, it’s my sense that this will be an evolving definition, made richer with the various contributions of other as we collectively discover the many facets this new communications industry covers.

Social media isn’t all that different from the traditional definition of PR, which according to my PR 101 professor is:

To build and maintain relationships.

When we are called to be community managers in the social media space, we are building relationships. When we work to engage on an ongoing basis, we maintain. But social media extends well beyond this definition, not because it’s a broader field, but because we are called to master so many tools.

A lot of social media “experts” offer Twitter strategies, Facebook strategies, blogging strategies, etc. But that’s getting too granular to really be effective (which, coincidently is probably how “experts” are earning a bad rap). Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Blogs, Ning, YouTube, Flicker, you name it, they’re all tools to execute a strategy. And therein lies the real calling and the real challenge: Keep it strategic, don’t be a tool…er, don’t get caught up on a tool.

What’s my definition for social media practitioners/strategists?

One who is tasked with building and maintaining communities, inspiring engagement, creating meaningful interactions and conversations based in the scalable publishing technologies; listening, evaluating and learning from interactions and commentary; continually evaluating strategy to ensure network growth, engagement and resonance to achieve measurable goals.

Sounds nice…but I’m sure tomorrow it will be different. That’s the beauty of this gig!

What would you add to this definition?

November 4, 2009

A one horse (read:paper) town

Posted in In the news, Media, Uncategorized at 8:12 pm by R

Phoenix, Arizona is the fifth largest city in the U.S. of A. It is now also a very large metropolitan area served by only one newspaper. As of December 31, 2009 the East Valley Tribune will cease to exist.

I’ve written here about papers closing, but not until today did I understand the impact these closures have on the cities they served.

You see, the East Valley Tribune served a significant niche of the Valley. Phoenix is Phoenix. Then there’s the East Valley. It’s a huge portion of the metro area population. It’s a huge portion of the population which is at risk for being journalistically under served.

And while this concerns me, there’s a bright side. Metro Phoenix is also home to some innovative journalists who have launched various news blogs to fill in the blanks and fill in the gaps like City Circles and the Zonie Report and of course Arizona Notebook.

Perhaps this is simply the way of things to come/it already is: hyper-local news accessible via well-written blogs courtesy of (many times) journalists and reporters given the slough off from failing publications.

And while those sites continue to grow and newspapers figure out what their future is, I guess Phoenix is just a one-horse town, so to speak anyway…