The five tribes of social media

Just came across a terrific post from my friend Sean Moffitt at his Buzz Canuck blog. Sean argues that there are five basic character types swimming around the social media fish bowl – each speaking a different language and each having a fundamentally different understanding of what is social media.

He writes:

The fact that these different 5 tribes exists is a good thing – it points to the multi-faceted nature of social media’s benefits. The inability for these social media tribes, particularly the more seasoned ones, to accept that they operate inescapably in the same social media bouillabaisse is a continuing issue that threatens the future financial health of the social media industry. It’s just too bad we don’t have some kind of United Nations of social media where people of different tribes could try to understand the other’s positions with the help of translators…because right now, we’re still talking different languages.

He’s right, of course. I’m constantly amazed at how every social media “expert” defines social media in a different way. Even buzz words like “conversation” can mean very different things to different people.

How do public relations types come across in Sean’s analysis? He gives credit to our tribe for recognizing that influencers deserve special attention, but says we don’t pay enough attention to the community aspect of social media and don’t spend enough time on relationship building.

I don’t necessarily agree with that analysis (I think PR actually pays more attention to relationship-building than many other marketing disciplines) but Sean’s overview provides some good insight as to how we’re viewed.

Now tell us Sean — which tribe do you belong to?

Published by Keith McArthur

I'm a dad, writer, husband, publisher, kidney transplant recipient, brother, friend, ex-journalist, ex-PR guy, ex-business executive, learning to become happier, healthier and more productive.

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