The velocity of the social space…

I have been really thinking why we as marketers been so focused on a discussion of Social Media(s) return. In 2010, the Social Space experienced an un-precentented number of professionals fighting for the same space…the space for marketing dollars and jobs. That is why we heard so much conversation on placing a numerical value on the media that captures social exchange. The two reasons for the term Social Media ROI…the economy and job lose.

When the economy declined dramatically late 2008 and in 2009, we felt the ripple effects in the world of business in 2010. Especially in the business of banking, real estate, academics, and even healthcare. People were loosing jobs and marketing budgets slashed. Advertising and PR Companies including departments were laying off and closing doors. Many more “entrepreneurs” were forcibly born looking for ways to connect in new ways.

As outlets like Twitter and Facebook gained lots of traction…and professional outlets like LinkedIn carried those resumes; relationships began to become key in finding work. As we built more and more online communities, marketers realized that there was a space to find communities to share brand conversations.

Why bring this up and re-kindle the unwanted conversation around the great American depression that effected so many individuals. Because, I was a part of this movement. As I watched a business I help build crumble, I was seeking to find new business opportunities and new relationships. But what I found was more than the ability to speak credibly about a digital, social space…I found relationships with people. Most of these people I have yet to meet, but these people are ones that I share conversations with daily…online

So why must we measure this space. Why must we measure the conversations that were fostered during a time of new connections. Yes…we can count the “Likes” and the “Followers”. We can look at the clicks to the blogs. We can aggregate the impressions created for brand recognition. But it is really my honest opinion, from a corporate marketing perspective, this space leads to credibility and connections between kindred souls.

I was meeting with a Land Investment Group talking about how they could use the Social Space to benefit their business and their initiatives when raising capital. The social space I believe will not 100% guarantee a deal for someone to invest. But what I do think is that it will help the conversation. Any business deal is about relationships…especially when it comes to investing money. But after the meetings and the “pitch” is done, those individuals interested do what we all do…they do some due-diligence. They go home, open the laptop and do a little searching and investigating. What the social space provides is the SEO to guide the person searching back to content the group has created. They start Google”ing”. This space provides conversations that have taken place around that brand. It provides the reinforcement to a potential decision.

I am not saying that having a “social strategy” is for the birds…what I am saying there is more than just spending time trying to measure conversations wrapped around relationships. The space is getting more and more flooded with these conversations, these blog posts, these “thought leaders”, all fighting for the same space. The velocity of conversations online is ever increasing and just as fast as the technologies that are connecting these conversations.

What this velocity has provided…more and more access to real time information and content. On the day when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Tucson, AZ…real time streams of information from common folks were competing with “credible” news sources. Most of all the outlets were reporting that she had past away, while “social” outlets provided platforms of people surrounding the scene to share information. Imagine the burden on news outlets competing for space with fact hungry, online socialites. We have all become news journalists trying to find and share information. We are all competing for that space…we want to be heard.

Now…there are billions of listeners. It all comes back to connecting with like minded individuals.

**Picture is from Hunting Island in 2006 right before the erosion destroyed our beach house.