Incorporating Social Media into the Conversation

I came across an interesting Fast Company blog article from Steve Rubel titled “How to Captivate and Hold Attention in the Age of the Stream” that caused me to think about parallels between digital media and physical media. Here is an excerpt:

“Imagine for a moment that you’re standing on an overpass high above a busy L.A. freeway like the 405 or the 5. It doesn’t really matter which. Pick one.

In a span of a few minutes literally thousands of cars will speed by. Some will be loud. Others quiet. Some will be notable, but most won’t.

At the end of the experiment, if I were to ask you to recall ten cars and trucks and what was memorable about them, I guarantee that you would be hard pressed to do so. What’s more, none of the cars would have been “repeat impressions.” You saw each car only once, and likely not every vehicle on the highway. That’s precisely the same challenge that marketers face in the ‘age of the stream.'” (article excerpt)

Of course you can’t make exact parallels, but it struck me that when people view social media as a distribution channel (which it isn’t purely that), the following parallels emerge:


Steve Rubel concludes his article by saying that the solution to the streaming challenge of social media is to be ubiquitous. That of course is easier said than done and I don’t feel goes far enough.

In this new digital world, excellent marketing campaigns will require integrated physical and digital planning, strategy, and execution that streams “conversation starters” through multiple physical and digital ‘channels’ to lead naturally into longer conversations in both corporate and uncontrolled social media outlets, before circling back into new “conversation starters” informed by this customer dialogue.


What do you think?


Braden Kelley is the founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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