Social media is all about discussion, transparency and a genuine voice. Therefore I feel its only right that I relay a very spirited debate that has taken place in our offices today.
Last night my partner in blogging crime Gordon, aka The Marketer posted about the forthcoming Nine Network television series Scorched. I happened to notice the post while doing the Olympics/laptop double and made a mental note: "must discuss post in morning".
We did, and that's when all hell broke loose.
We love a good debate in this office, but this one really got passions stirring, so much so that everyone else had to leave their cubby houses to join in.
So what it all about?
The new Nine program Scorched promises to be extremely innovative. The series is being promoted as a "cross platform" initiative with Television and multiple websites. Some of the sites have additional storylines or provide greater depth to the characters, such as Georgie Parker's NSW Premier and a fictional news channel CPN.
Clever, daring, exciting. Nine should be commended for the initiative. It will be fascinating to see the public reaction when it launches.
So what's the office debate?
Gordon's post regarding Scorched began:
Scorched TV Drama Premiers on Social Media
When it comes to social media in Australia, the TV industry is leading the way. First, we had ABC's Gruen Transfer engaging viewers, but Channel 9's new TV drama called 'Scorched' is going to take the biscuit. The nice people at Channel 9 are going to enhance our experience with 'Cassie Has Dreams', ninemsn's first ever online-only drama using multiple social media sites. Other industries, please take note.
What Gordon is calling social media, I call a clever series of micro-sites. Some will add depth to the series, some may even encourage some form of interactive or audience feedback, while on another level they simply help promote the program.
I am not even sure I can agree that Australian TV is leading the way with social media.
This quickly sparked the debate as to what constitutes social media. Where is the line drawn in the sand that suddenly announces that something has crossed from a digital execution to social media? Who has the right to decide what social media is?
I actually believe this is part of a much larger discussion amongst the dedicated social media community (you know who you are) and the wider business and arts community who are starting to take an interest in social media. The definitions can be blurry and often we are seeing agencies and businesses try to pass off an online execution as social media. In response many of us quickly dissect the execution and pass judgement.
As Gordon pointed out to me, who gives who the right to decide what is and isn't social media? Good point.
I tend to agree with Julian on this and find it very relevant as my own agency is about to embark on several online campaigns on behalf of clients. One of these campaigns I would be very reluctant to coin as a social media campaign, but could be a great digital effort. Another has the potential to become an effective social media campaign but only if we handle it carefully and the client embraces it totally. I.e. it must be their true voice, not our copywriter's.
So, back to Scorched and Gordon's post. Is it social media or not? And who decides?
In the spirit of social media, this conversation is now open. Fire away.