Social media’s rise as a distinct discipline


social media specialist waiting for potential client to call back!

Mark Cridge, the founder and CEO of glue, is a man who We Are Social owes a lot to, both figuratively – through the example he and the rest of the team at glue have set over the last ten years and quite literally – up until our move last week, he’d been kind enough to let us base ourselves in glue’s offices. He’s also a man that knows what he’s talking about regarding the tectonic shifts that have happened in the marketing and advertising industry as digital has made its presence felt.

So, even though we’ve been talking about social media’s rise as a distinct discipline ourselves (and it was mine and Nathan’s belief in this that led us to found We Are Social), it’s pretty gratifying to hear what he has to say in this week’s New Media Age:

If you talked to people the way advertising talked to people, they’d punch you in the face.’ This wonderfully captures the feeling of dismay those in digital have felt when they saw their traditional counterparts wade in, uninformed, and claim, “This digital lark, it’s all just more screens, innit.”

In fact this was a useful argument as the nascent digital industry carved out a role for itself, distinct from traditional advertising, emphasising the need for a new approach, a distinct set of skills that, coincidentally, only a digital agency could provide.

Clearly, as the traditional industry rapidly gets its act together, it would be naive to think this state of affairs will last much longer. It’s interesting, then, to experience a sense of déjà vu as we see social media rise as a distinct discipline, again requiring a unique set of skills and experiences

You can’t simply take the old ways of doing things and apply them to any new medium in exactly the same way. This is especially true within social media, which is as different to the digital of the last few years as that was to traditional channels. Just as digital types complained that traditional sorts shouldn’t treat online as a mass broadcast channel, so the same is true with social media, where you can’t expect the rules and behaviours of traditional or even digital to work in the same way.