Content isn't Social, You Are

By Laurence Hart posted 07-07-2011 10:13


The term social content has been getting some airplay of late. In my opinion it is a marketing term describing something that has been around for a while. Let’s dissect the term for a minute.

Jesse Wilkins gave a few differentiators in his response to Chris Walker’s article on the topic. I’m going to run through them quickly.

  • Co-creation: People have been co-authoring content for generations. Doing it using a wiki doesn’t change anything. I’ve been co-creating things in Word for over a decade.
  • Aggregation: Streams of activities or a Tweet stream.  Really this is just a form of structured content. You can manage this in a database field or as an XML document. You just have to decide how to store it.
  • Fragmentation: A tweet may not have meaning without the rest of the stream. Context is key. Sounds like an email thread. This is really tied to Aggregation in my opinion. Nothing new here.
  • Metadata: Jesse starts to talk about Geolocation and other aspects that provide context. Sounds like different metadata fields to me.
  • Finishedness: You mean like a draft document? If I’m working on a proposal it isn’t worth keeping until it is finished.

These aren’t new concepts. Yes, there are new ways of generating the content and information. It is also being created in new formats. It doesn’t matter. We didn’t create new techniques or practices when we started using Word instead of WordPerfect. It is the same thing.

And kill the word Social here. If it is truly social content, it isn’t business relevant. The business outputs are collaborative. If I “Like” someone’s idea on how to make money, it isn’t social; it is a registration of agreement. The difference is that it is gathered online and not in a meeting.

We are in the business of managing content and information, regardless of source. We learned how to manage email as records, this is the same. I can see terms like Activity Stream Content and Wiki Content as they may have some storage/versioning tricks to capturing, but it isn’t hard and it isn’t necessarily social.

After all, I’ve been getting emails at work for social matters at work since the 90s. If you haven’t gotten a “Birthday Cake in the kitchen” email then nobody likes you anyway.

#Collaboration #CMS #socialmedia #Cake #enterprise2.0 #ECM #E-mail