Social media does not really exist as a thing.

Social media is everywhere where there is social stuff. It is the invisible bits between people "socialising" with each other. It exists where people gossip, argue, discuss, commune. It disappears when the people do.

Where there's people there's social media!

Does this make the term social media too wide and thus moot? When we think/discuss social media, we are likely to be referring to the technology, software tools, and network systems.

But you cannot "do" social media. Certainly having a Facebook page or a Twitter feed is besides the point.

The only thing you can do is engage and work with people, as people. The tools are simply to enable, further, channel, direct (to some extent), leverage, shape, colour... this "socialising." The right social media (or is it social mediation? Social empathy?) strategy can give it a form, meaning and hopefully deliver rewards and KPIs.

The way many businesses approach social media is more often as a distraction and an illusion. Perhaps there is no direct way to monetise it. Treat people well, engage with them with respect and care, and they will be more likely to hang around. Arrogance, greed, a win-lose attitude, too much spin, all these will drive people away. Perhaps it is more about using social tools to ensure the survival of your business?

Yes, there is a technological element to it. But unlike say network storage or cloud computing, the technology is not actually the point. The underlying core of being human, is the key consistent reality.

Yes, you HAVE to work with people. So be nice. Be real.