Monday, March 12, 2012

Social Media and Building Sustainable Ideas: A complex puzzle

In this morning's news, an article ran called "'Kony 2012' grabs media attention, but it could be fleeting". The article is about social media and revolutions, summed up in a quote from the article: "When you use social media to bring down a dictator, it's simplistic and easy," says Christopher Tunnard, who studies the effect of social media on politics at Tufts University. "When you're trying to build things back up, it's much more complicated. It's very difficult to put together a story about how social media are being used to build up institutions."

Since this blog is not about global politics but communications issues, this morning's article highlights what I believe is perhaps the biggest issue in communications today: social media is very good for intermittent hits on single ideas. But how do you sustain and build an entire "ideology" with social media?

The first answer to this question is to keep your ideas simple. We have talked a lot in this blog about a "high concept".

But the second answer, about which we have also talked, harkens back to our view of creating a "communications architecture." That is, even when you have a single "high concept", building an entire infrastructure around it is critical to build sustained ideologies.

I believe we are all just in the early stages of understanding how to implement this second strategy with social media. There will be a lot of experimentation in the next few years; though it is likely that the right approach will revolve around creating social media campaigns that systematically build and weave ideas.

There's a lot more to think about re how these campaigns are created. Watch this space.

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