The definitive working list of what social media is not

I had, awhile back, compiled a list of what i thought social media was not. This morning while exchanging tweets, Beth Harte mentioned that Amber Naslund had just dropped a post on what social media isn’t, which led me to thinking: “why don’t we create a list of what social media is not”! There are so many lists and blog posts out there that are touting what it is, that maybe we should clarify and quantify what it is not. I would like this to be a continuous work in progress and need everyone to contribute as little or as much as possible. So here goes:

From Search Marketing Gurus we have the following:

  1. Social Media Isn’t:  Easy
  2. Social Media Isn’t:  Fast
  3. Social Media Isn’t:  A Substitute for Sound SEO Practices
  4. Social Media Isn’t:  A Substitute for Sound PPC Practices
  5. Social Media Isn’t:  A Practice to be Done by Interns
  6. Social Media Isn’t:  Another Place to Distribute Your Press Release
  7. Social Media Isn’t:  Something That Will Work if Your Site is “Broken”
  8. Social Media Isn’t:  Something To Send Out Mass Emails For
  9. Social Media Isn’t:  Something You Can Do Without Participation
  10. Social Media Isn’t:  Something You Can Do in Disguise

Courtesy of Rachel Happe we have: 11. Social media is not community

B.L. Ochman says that:

12. Social media isn’t a one-shot deal 

13. Social media isn’t a technique

14.  It’s not a short-term project

15.  It’s not an experiment, 

16.  It’s not an event, 

17. It’s not a quick fix.  and 

18. It’s not something you throw money at.

Brian Solis tells us that Social media is not:

19. The final frontier

Robert Young from GigaOm, mentioned 2 years ago that 

20. Social Media is not Mass Media.

Is that still true? I think it’s not true any longer, nor might have never been. Its perhaps a function or channel of mass media though, or slowly becoming that.

John Gray writing for imediaconnection wrote that: 

21. Social media is not just for kids, and I’m down with that!

Don Schindler from Media Sauce Blog tells us that:

 22. Social media is not advertising or

23. It’s not marketing, it’s about connections.

Ike Piggot over at the Now is Gone blog mentions that, 

24. Social media is not a commodity.

According to the Deal,

25. Social media is not the next bubble. But that was 3 years ago.

26. Social media is not a direct response marketing channel according to the 10e20 blog

27. Social Media may not be all that it’s cracked up to be, this from Jennifer Laycock over at searchengineguide. What the hell does “all that it’s cracked up to be” actually mean? I never really understood that statement.

28. Social media is not about Links, this from Li Evans

29. For teens, social media is not technology, it’s life!

30.  Social media is not a free for all, thanks Luke Armour

Brian Magierski mentions that:

31. Social media is not just another marketing channel. 

Laura Porto Stockwell  believes that

32. Social media is not new

Thanks in part to Scoble we know that Social Media is not:

33. Newspapers

34. Magazines

35. Television

36. Radio

37. Books

38. CDs

39. DVDs

40. A box of photos

50. Physical, paper mail and catalogs and

51. Yellow Pages

And here are mine:

52. Social media is not up to them, it is up to you and your voice

53. Social media is not predicated on many to many

54. Social media is not one to one, but it can be.

55. Social media is not closed to anyone

56. Social media is not calm, sedate, unresponsive.

57. Social media is not passive

58. Social media is not laryngitis

59. Social media is not mainstream, yet

60.  Social media is not static

And here are Amber Naslund’s:

61. Social media is not Show and Tell

62. Social media is not a Popularity and Numbers Contest

63. Social media is not a Silver Bulllet

64. Social media is not just for “Experts”

Ok so I think 64 is a pretty good start. What am I missing here? Feel free to add yours or, feel free to tell me where some of these might actually be wrong. Let’s talk about it!


11 Responses to “The definitive working list of what social media is not”

  1. 1 Beth Harte July 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Marc, this is a great start! 64?! That’s quite a list. I think I’ll be sharing this with quite a few non-marketing folks…

  2. 2 ecairn July 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    You could do an affinity grouping around those 64 items. For exemple, ‘not easy, fast, one shot deal’…could be grouped together under a broader category like ‘effort’ or ‘resource’ 😉

  3. 3 Marc July 17, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    @Beth some are a real eye opener…

  4. 4 Stevie July 18, 2008 at 2:20 am

    It’s interesting to read what Social Media is because it’s an basket term and used like Web 2.0 which is another amorphous term. It’s not about what you think it’s about– it’s different.
    It’s like asking what is love.. it’s hard to nail down.

    It’s interesting what it’s NOT and I love Scoble’s answers. 😉

  5. 5 ambernaslund July 18, 2008 at 4:48 am

    Thanks for the hat tip! Boy, we’re just scratching the surface of this, huh? Love the additions to your list, some great food for thought. I’ll keep thinking…

  1. 1 What Social Media Isn’t Trackback on July 17, 2008 at 7:17 pm
  2. 2 Finding Consumer Insights in Social Media « New Media Marketing and Advertising: Connecting and Conversating Trackback on July 21, 2008 at 1:30 am
  3. 3 The trust factor in social media marketing « Emerson Direct Marketing Observations Trackback on July 21, 2008 at 2:20 pm
  4. 4 MediaSauceBlog » Blog Archive » Finding Consumer Insights in Social Media Trackback on July 21, 2008 at 3:41 pm
  5. 5 look before you leap | Identity Marketing and Public Relations Trackback on July 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm
  6. 6 Social media marketing’s 7 deadly sins « Direct Marketing Observations Trackback on August 26, 2008 at 3:14 pm
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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.


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