Social Media is more than a ‘buzzword’

‘Buzzwords’, ‘all the rage’ and ‘in vogue’ – all fashionable terms that strive to describe a new trend. Their deeper meanings remain obscure for most of us, but anyway, we like using buzzwords because they make us feel really cool when we say them!

Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, is a good example of what a buzzword can be. It’s new, maybe a little bit foggy, but oh so trendy.

The most surprising thing about buzzword phenomena, and especially social media, is the speed with which they spread. Like a virus that spares no-one, it has succeeded in seducing all but the most resistant people in a very short time. Even our parents, who are hardly recovering from sending their first text message now have their own Facebook profiles.

But we all know that fashionable trends tend to have quite a short half life, so should we be waiting for the moment when the pandemic will end? Obviously, it won’t. Then why are we still treating ‘social media’ like a buzzword?

Malcolm Gladwell can give us part of the answer in ‘The Tipping Point’. This is the magic moment when a social behaviour crosses a threshold and begin to spread irreversibly. Because almost everyone now belongs to a social network, the opportunity cost of not being part of the phenomenon is rising.

Just like other new technologies before them (remember the fax machine?), these things gain credibility because of their early adoption rate. This real utility, due to the amount of people interacting with each other, has made social networks invaluable.

Social media’s ‘Tipping Point’ came about when people stopped subconsciously seeing it as a fashionable trend and started using it for intimate communication. Facebook’s own ‘Tipping Point’ came with the development social gaming.

It’s clear that ‘social media’ is no longer a foggy, fashionable buzzword. It’s about business: integrated marketing and communication strategies now need to reach out on these platforms to reach their objectives.

Social media has definitely overtaken the ‘buzzword level’, it helps advertisers to understand customer behaviour like never before. Advertising messages can now be targeted on a much more personal level, making the brand message tailored and relevant for each consumer.

‘Social media’ is ready for the ultimate recognition: an entry in the dictionary.

Camille le Goff


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