Social Media – Still, Mostly, A Mystery

Here’s a list from Communicate Magazine – a very useful list actually, of events and training courses of interest to the communications community, taking place over the coming weeks and months.

I say it’s useful, because it works well as a yardstick, with which you can measure what the medium/long-term concerns of the industry are – a lot of these events depend on the attendance of paying punters, so the organisers are clearly not going to bother with content that people are not interested in or concerned by. Creativity is always a big one, as is handling the media.

All that being said, blog snorkellers, you might also find something here that is of use to you – heaven forbid, something that you might want to stump up some of your own (or your employer’s) cash to attend. Never let it be said that I don’t give you anything.

But for the purposes of this post, I want to re-visit the email that I received from Communicate Magazine, alerting me to their list. In the body of the email – I presume to give me a flavour of the richness of content that awaited my link-clickery – they provided some 27 examples of events happening over the next three days. And of those 27 events, 17 had social media as their subject.

That’s a lot – it’s a preponderance actually, given the amount of differing issues and topics that these events might be addressing.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there’s an entire industry grown up around the chimaerae that are business’ use of social media, and social media marketing. Some of it is well-meaning – I am sure – no, I am – but much of it is cynical profiteering. You wouldn’t provide your bank account details to a Nigerian emailster – why would you pay someone to ask the question “is effective measurement critical to effective marketing strategy”? (This is a genuine example, btw.)

This is phishing, really – caveat emptor.

(I would also like to add that not all of it is, some appears to be very well-meaning. What it does show however, in clear, sharp relief, is that – despite 2009 having been hailed as the year that business ‘got’ social media – none of the big questions (ROI, for example, or how to make social media pay) have been answered. And the tone of the conversation is now sounding ever-so-slightly desperate.)

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