Can’t See the Social for the Media

The majority of the discussion I come across when I read other people’s blogs, advice or tips is, for want of a better all encompassing term, about ‘selling’ the very real presence and concept of social media to non-believers, or getting across its wider uses to the newly converted, or sharing knowledge and practice with the likeminded. However, if that addresses one end of the social media temperate zone, how do we address the other? That of the believer whose vision is narrow, who grasps the real presence and concept without being able to see wider than the single piece of work they are…well, working on!

So, what of them, those that have bought into a single element of social media long ago, but are now blinkered through having educated themselves in isolation? In my short lived experience, I have found it difficult to draw them from their now emotional attachment or bloody mindedness. Even though I know they have looked, been and seen various presentations on the subject matter, which have given them the case studies and therefore the raison d’etre; even though post these events or chats or presentations, they have spoken well and clearly grasp the moment, the moment seems to be all too fleeting, and they return then to their single line of pursuit, convinced it is ‘the way’, unable to see the social for the media.

I’m convinced it’s to do with how we are educated as individuals on, or how we arrive at investigating a concept such as social media in the first place. Of course, the initial purpose of our introduction to it and relevance to our particular strand of work at the time are also factors that shape our thinking, as is how we approach an ever changing world as an individual on a daily basis.

Here rests my fortune. I’ve been privileged in the education I’ve received, in social media terms. It initially came directly (and still does) from a couple of Kirklees Council colleagues, @Gr8governance and @StevenTuck, progressed then by my own inquisitive nature, then progressed further still by a number of people whom I now follow on Twitter, like @andysimcox or @allyhook. That continuing education has helped me understand Twitter much more (, allowing me now to have introduced my own blog on WordPress ( Just the other day, in response to a serious joke (!?) from Ingrid Koehler, I also updated my LinkedIn profile (, and have since added ( to my ‘portfolio’.

Had I not received the education, I might well be stuck thinking just one or another of these was the be all and end all…that Twitter = social media. As it is, I’m working out how all these things link together. And still, it is early days for me.

I believe education is the key. It is unfortunate that some of those who might once have been at the forefront are now almost too blinkered and unconnected to how far things have moved along, leaving them pushing for something that has already happened, rather than being at the here and now and pulling others along with them to the bold and new.

It should serve as a warning from history to all of us; that to stay ahead of the game we must never stop exploring or investigating, lest we should become the followers rather than followed. Personally, I think I am moving the right way along the temperate path, which errs on the side of the slightly leftfield; I hope it keeps me in touch with the innovators and explorers. I hope I don’t ever need rescuing, because I’m not convinced you can be. The social outstrips the media, and it is surely through the social that the media will continue to develop, through shared learning and practice.

Comments, thoughts and musings all welcome.


5 thoughts on “Can’t See the Social for the Media

  1. Hi Spencer,

    This is a challenge, like anything new…. people are skeptical and doubt the bigger picture. But I am positive that over time, hopefully sooner rather than later people will start to see the benefits.

    There are two kinds of people, those who just believe and those who have to see it to believe, thankfuly I am in the first camp. For those in the latter camp, I have made it my challenge to educate and empower all those who could benefit from the use of social media.

    Social Media is a big area and so much emphasis is placed on twitter and facebook that people have no idea about, blogging, content syndication, forum marketing, article marketing, SEO, personal branding, social bookmarking, email marketing, commenting, tribe syndication. The list goes on.

    So glad that you are at the forefront of this social media revolution…it has been pretty lonely out here trying to fight back the skepticism for so long lol 🙂

    Loving the blog, stop by mine sometime. 🙂 I am currently working on blog number two and would love your input sometime.

    Beth 🙂

    • Hi Beth

      Thanks for the response. The furrow we plow is not quite so lonely, I think. There is an increasing amount of interest and take up. But, along with others we must continue to nudge, just a little at a time.

      I will indeed stop by your blog number two. Happy to do some collaborative/shared input work to it. Might even be worth us having a chat over coffee about some wider involvement in some socmed communications strategy work I’m leading on!

      Obviously got some time off here and there over next few weeks, as I expect have you, but I’ll run a diary check if you want and we can sort something out?


  2. Hi Spencer, great blog. I am new this social media frenzy myself, only joined in march this year. However I feel there is something very real about it. My angle is more on science communication, but I also work as a Public Servant.
    It is interesting that a hit on my blog lead me to a wedding website that had also listed your blog; and here I am. Linked to another person who is also interested in the social media buzz. Stop by my blog and see what you think.

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