The conversations you have with your audience are the most important sources of learning for you. That applies whether you are planning a new social marketing program or trying to understand how to think about and explain new media and its impact on social marketing practice.
At American University's School of Communication last Saturday morning I spent nearly 2 1/2 hours with a social marketing class doing a variation on the usual one hour spiel. With only a lunch break as a stopping point, we became so involved in discussions of almost every slide and idea I put up that even the lunch break went by with no one making a move for the door. Very exciting for me to have the luxury of complete engagement by everyone and not having to rush through slides, limit discussion and end in an hour.
And a few students did not stop there, sending me emails afterwards with more thoughts about the session that I want to share here.
I particularly enjoyed hearing about the Media Multiplexity Strategy. Not only does it make sense to use multiple media strategies, but it highlights the diversity of media tools available. The Media Multiplexity Strategy, coupled with the idea of personalized extended reach, makes this a very exciting time to be in social marketing. We are right smack in the middle of a transition in communication technology that is not only changing the way we communicate, but is restructuring social relationships. How exciting!
...your presentation of "the networked world" was refreshing. This networked world is so often presented as a barrier to communicating with publics, or as something that needs to be controlled (which is really scary because I don't know how that is even possible). It was refreshing to hear you say that this networked world is really an opportunity not to be dreaded, but to be embraced. It gave me hope.
One thing you mentioned in your presentation that really resonated with me is the recurring behavior of "teams" and organizations wanting to substantiate their existence through the creation of meaningless and cliche mission statements, which are a waste of time and mean nothing in the end to all those involved. I push back on this time and time again at work and yet its a tradition that's hard to break, particularly in such a large institution as mine. Breaking through that clutter of ideas and institutionalized beliefs is my "mission"...
The other point addresses just the concept of what Web 2.0 is. As you defined it, its not just an audience, it's a community. It's really a little scary at how quickly ideas can spread through individuals and catch wildfire. For social marketing this is a HUGE opportunity. The black hole for me is how to embrace that opportunity and create positive social change. Of particular importance to me is the international arena and in developing countries where internet and cellphone are existent, but are also exclusive to members within a hierarchical social structure.
For me, it showed how social media options will impact the social marketing sector in the future. It also brought home a new way of looking at branding. It's no longer about positioning a company name or logo but instead positioning behavior so that people want to help spread stories. Knowing about these new techniques and tools is essential to the work and success of communicators.
And my favorite: You have provided lots of room for thought and concern...
We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?
Special thanx to Amy, Mei-Ling & Tomeka!
And Lynette Webb.