Social Buzzword Alignment


buzzwords.pngTalking with a friend who is smart but outside of the bubble, I was surprised that one of my usual comments surprised her. If you really want to find all of the insights on social media that might be relevant to your business, you need to track down some closely related buzzwords: Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, community, and WOM.

These buzzwords aren't synonyms, but they're very closely related. Serious discussions of one tend to bring up the others. The catch is this: events, organizations, suppliers, and thought leaders tend to be aligned with one of them, so it's easy to miss significant contributions to the discussion if you focus on only one.

For those just learning social media, I usually recommend looking up some of these other topics. Here's why:

  • Web 2.0
    This buzzword has dropped off the hype charts, but before social media caught on, people were thinking about many of the same trends under the Web 2.0 banner. Web 2.0 lives on in the 2.0 appended to so many buzzwords, such as...

  • Enterprise 2.0
    Social media inside the firewall—that's E 2.0 in a nutshell. I realize the vision is a bit different, but the tools are the same, and those who start thinking about using social media inside their companies should know that a different group of thinkers is already on the case. We're seeing the realization that doing social media well (in business) and applying E 2.0 principles are closely related; Dachis Group's social business design construct is an early example of linking the trends.

  • Community
    Who you're trying to connect with through social media. Emphasizes the strategy of connecting with people instead of the tools. Can you really talk about social media for more than ten minutes without using the word community?

  • Word of Mouth
    What the marketer wants to encourage through social media. Go to a WOMMA meeting, and much of the talk is about WOM in social media.
The map is not the territory; the buzzword is not the thing. Niall Cook gets this. Each of these buzzwords is a label—a handle to help us get a grip on a new set of concepts. There's even a longer list, with social computing and consumer-generated media to focus attention on different attributes of what's going on.

Rather than debating the merits of a label or limiting ourselves to label-induced intellectual silos, let's focus on figuring out the concepts and making them work. The whole is way more interesting than the sum of the parts.


Hi Nathan:

Nice post - but I can't believe that you declined to define "Social Media"!!


Oh. That. :-)

I just gave a presentation that included three slides on defining social media, without actually defining it:

  1. Defining by example
  2. The Conversation Prism, sort of the ultimate definition by example
  3. Redefining by what people can do with it (publish, respond, share, converse, connect)
I'll leave the fight over an actual definition to Wikipedia (while reserving the option to disagree with it).

The beauty of definition by example is that we can always expand the definition to include new inventions that we think should be included. :-)

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About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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