Imagine Social Media With Good Content!

Imagine what social media would be like with all the best content available to be shared, consumed and, yes, monetized, wherever and whenever people want it. It's coming fast, though there's been three major roadblocks to the freeing of great content: 1. How good are the Internet's pipes (bandwidth)? 2. How good is the viewing experience (device)? 3. Can content producers make money from people viewing their content in social media (monetization)?

With broadband penetration up and computers getting faster, bandwidth isn't the gating issue (although let's not check that one as solved just yet). The viewing experience just keeps getting better, and the Apple Tablet is already the greatest thing since sliced bread (and it hasn't even come out yet). No, the real hold-up has been monetization. The money is the key to really setting content "free," so to speak.

The best summary I have seen of what bringing great content to social media means -- or maybe it's better to say, what it will mean to bring social media to great content -- was in a post by cnet's Caroline McCarthy, "Social media is finally about the media". Not only will content be dragged kicking and screaming into social media, but content will truly thrive in social media. The real issue will be, how long until the money follows?



A couple weeks ago I wrote a column titled "Your Message Doesn't Know What Twitter Is," because it seemed that more and more marketers were wrapped up in the method with which they were delivering their message, rather than what they really wanted their message to be. This led to social media programs more focused on doing what's new, rather than achieving marketers' objectives. I think a lot of producers are going through content realizing the potential of social media -- not as a novelty, but as possibly the future core of content distribution, which can be applied to marketing and advertising. And the faster the money follows great content into social media, the more financial support will be available to fulfill our insatiable appetite for news and entertainment when and where we want it.

Speaking of which, if you have any thoughts on this or any other topic, I'm always interested. Drop me a line on Twitter at and leave a comment on the Spin board.

7 comments about "Imagine Social Media With Good Content!".
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  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., January 26, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.

    Joe - You've missed the mark about social media. It's about "social media" - in other words, pictures of my brother-in-laws birthday cake, pictures of my wife from high school with goofy comments attached, video of our dog snoring - that's social media. A clip from the Tonight Show sponsored by Dove Soap is just media, and believe me, the folks who truly use social media don't give a damn about paying for your version of content - they just want to see high school reunion pictures. And please, stop with the Twitter nonsense - that's for teenagers and New Yorkers who feel lost in oblivion.

  2. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., January 26, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

    LOL is it just me, or does every reader of Joe look for ample opportunity to bash?

    I want to disagree with you Jonathan and say that you're proposing an ABSOLUTE to Joe's facet." Yes social media is about relevancy to the end user. So "pictures of my brother-in-laws birthday cake, pictures of my wife from high school with goofy comments attached" is social media. Social media is also what we are doing now. We are communicating openly about a topic - we are actively engaging in a channel that publishes professional content. You just can't just ASSUME social media falls into the niche personal category that is ONLY relevant to the end user directly.

    If our conversation on Media Post isn't enough to debunk your assumption, then IDK what is. I don't think Joe missed the mark at at all about social media - quite the contrary I think his article implies that media as a WHOLE - al-biet social or not, needs to be relevant to the end user because we CONSUME content in relation to us. So what I read out of this article is that "media needs to be more relevant to us" not "social media is ONLY the things that are directly relevant to us." Cause you don't get to decide what is relevant to everyone right? Just you.

    Oh, the thriving Tumblr is also another good example of content that ALBIET not strictly professional, wears a "branding channel" mask for artists, writers, and so forth.

  3. Mark McLaughlin, January 26, 2010 at 5:08 p.m.

    Joe - I promise no bashing this week :-)

    Can I just suggest a 4th question to complement the three you put out there?

    4. How much do younger media consumers care about the quality of professionally produced content?

    I'm not even bringing amateur content into the equation at all. Here are some examples of what I mean when I raise this question...

    My generation had to have the best possible stereo equipment that money could buy in order to hear their favorite music with outstanding fidelity. Today's generation is OK with the ring tone version of the song!

    My generation is very distracted if the picture quality of a movie is less than perfect. Today's generation will stream a version of the movie that was taped on a video camera by somebody who was sitting in the theater if that is the only way to get the movie when they want it.

    My generation could stand for no distractions whatsoever when watching a favorite sport team in a critical game on TV. Today's generation welcomes tons of distractions on and off the screen even if they have the same passion for the team and the game that I do!

    My generation was acutely attuned to the quality of the PROVIDER of the news - like Walter Cronkite or The New York Times. Today's generation absorbs so much news from so many providers that the quality of the editor in the middle seems lost on them.

    These examples are to raise the question, not demonstrate how old school I am! The thought is that it may be hard to get younger consumers to pay for professionally produced content if they are indifferent to the differences in "quality" of one source of professional content versus another.

  4. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, January 27, 2010 at 10:29 a.m.

    As long as I can see F-Troop again, I'm all for it!

  5. Aaron Clopton, January 27, 2010 at 11:03 a.m.

    I liked the questions raised here, Joe. You can see at site,, that it has become an amalgamation o=of what you refer to and what Jonathan Mirow alluded to above. Our sole purpose was to take advantage of the best qualities/potential in social media (here, twitter) and use to deliver any quality content that exists. We do this through monitoring the over 150 specific news channels based upon users' interests. I think it represents much of the excitement that some feel in the direction of social media over the coming year.

  6. Walter Sabo from HitViews, January 28, 2010 at 11:46 p.m.

    Joe's column's are great. Joe is right about points 1 and 2. As with all media, it is always about the show. People come to see or hear a good show. Monetization has to first start with investors who must be weened off of the notion that a patent means bankable or "safe." That hardware/app patent is not too valuable without a good show. Put the money on the show, that's where the eyeballs go.

    We have found a profound way to monetize it

  7. Mickey Lonchar from Quisenberry, January 29, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.

    Great observations, Joe. Remember the three most important things in real estate: "Location, location. location?" Well, the most important things in Social Media are "Content, content, content."

    In some ways, Social Media today reminds me of cable TV from 20 years ago. Plenty of bandwidth, but who wants to watch "Gilligan's Island" 40 times a day? Every once in a while you'll see glimmers of how content is catching up to the medium. Whether it's the Korean BBQ trucks in LA or some viral video that came out of nowhere. More and more marketers are on the cusp of figuring this out.

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