Although blogger Zennie Abraham shares some interesting ideas in his post “Social Networking is Really Social Broadcasting,” I just don’t buy it.

I do get his point that social networking has a big “broadcasting” component to it, and I understand his reasoning of trying to place it in that basket so advertisers can see it as the same as other media buys,    but in my opinion, that’s just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole simply to make it sell better. It will sell when, and the key word is when, the marketing community wraps it arms around its true value… and not before.

I don’t think “broadcasting” is the right word because it only addresses the most basic aspects of connections and is primarily a numbers game of how many people you can push your message out to. 

Social networking, on the other hand, fully uses the powerful sharing aspect of social media (and the social graph) to rely on and build relationships between people.  These relationships then provide you the ability to spread a message through your network and into the network of others due to the true value of the message — value that continues to increase simply by the fact that you have approved and recommended it by passing it along.  

Take, for example, Twitter.  Most in the marketing community misunderstand Twitter …when used wisely, it is not a broadcast tool or a standalone tool for marketing, it’s an enhancement to your marketing strategy and an extremely valuable networking, experimenting and seeding tool.  While it allows you to provide a broadcast-like tweet to all your followers, most will never see a single tweet and the real value is that it also allows you to interact directly with one person in plain sight of thousands of people and allows them to pass along to others in their network.  Think about how much we learn about someone by watching their interactions with others, and you can understand how this feature of Twitter quickly creates (or destroys!) trust throughout your social network.

Social networking is also different from broadcasting in that it isn’t just a one-time send-out of information.  Powerful social networking includes a back and forth exchange between you and your audience (network members), and their audience, giving you more than one chance to make an impression, clarify your message, and most importantly, build trust.   Let’s not forget that it’s trust that builds customer loyalty! 

Bottom line:  social broadcasting gets you a glance, but social networking gets you loyalty.  Which method are you using??

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