We need a new term for social media. The tent is too large and it includes too many online activities and communication tools that are hardly social.
Take Pinterest, for instance. Social? Perhaps, but not like Facebook. Facebook exists so that we can keep up on what our friends, family, colleagues are doing in their lives. Pinterest and many other tools are more about expressing ourselves in new and interesting ways. What about Slideshare.net or Groupon or sites like Yelp? Social, yes in some ways. But these sites are much more than just status updates and check-ins.
Let’s stop using social media and instead start using “mobile media.” Afterall, two-thirds of adults now access the internet through some kind of wireless device. The Google and Apple are making millions from apps that make our portable devices nearly impossible to live without.
And, as the use of social media in business communication matures, we are learning more about when and how people check in on their social media sites. For instance, think about when you might check your Twitter or Facebook accounts – maybe waiting for the bus or sitting in the waiting room at the doctors office? Yes, we are finding that mobile internet allows us the opportunity to fill in those small gaps in our busy schedules with quick updates or check-ins.
Again: Social media is mobile media.
Here are a couple of interesting videos worth watching. One talks about the state of social media – how tremendous its adoption is throughout the world. And the other video discusses specifically the mobile media phenomenon that we are currently witnessing. I cannot source all of these statistics, but they seem reasonable in the context of the tremendous growth of wireless communication and social media adoption.
For the transportation communications professional, mobile continues to be opportunity and challenge. Can we envision a near-term future in which our communication programs are focused not only on what we say to the public, but also depends on what we hear back from our customers? Is not that the obvious evolution of public engagement?
After all, they are the mobile and mobile has everything to do with transportation.