I missed the blogpost „social media will be like air“ by Charlene Li in March. But before not mentioning it at all, I’ll rather blog about it late. The article is about the fact that social media, especially the communities/social networks that make up these media plattforms, will be be ubiquitous in a few years. The son of my boss once asked, how people managed to access the internet before computers were invented. A rather smart question, once you think about it.

In a few years kids will ask us, why we used so many different platforms to socially engage with one another online. (And why we used platforms in the first place). Similar to why they will ask us, why we needed stationary big machines with huge screens to access the internet.

So the article of Charlene Li is worth reading in any case, but there was one point that I particularly noticed:

4) A business model where social influence defines marketing value. Today’s advertising models don’t work on social networking sites – that’s because simply targeting better on profile or social graph details is still the same old media model of CPM and CPC pricing. What’s missing is marketing value based on how valuable I am in the context of my influence. For example, Steve Rubel is a highly influential person because he is an authority on social media, the people in his social graph tend to interested in his views, and they in turn have a great deal of authority as well. (Several people came up to me after the speech and said that this is similar to a „PageRank of people“, a very easy way to crystallize the idea.)

There are discussions about the future of your „typical target group“ already going on. The idea of establishing a „PageRank of people“ seems to be a viable solution. Discriminating it may be, but it provides a good indication of who to target – or should we rather call it: speak to?

In summary, Participation is no longer optional writes Steve Rubel, referencing Charlene Li’s post. And he ads:

The end result is that marketers will need to shift the way they approach communities. Static advertising is no longer viable. The solution is collaboration. Marketers will need to tap these emerging social operating systems to build meaningful connections through their sites and others before competitors do.

Engaging in „social networking“ with your brand/product advocates will be is a crucial part of the media mix. I just wonder, when this insight will have found its way into marketing plans of most companies?