Is social media everything we really make it out to be? Is there an imbalance between perception and reality? I would venture to say yes. Before we get into the underlying argument of the two terms… let’s define them (from dictionary.com).
Perception: a single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.
Reality: something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.
There is probably a universal argument of perception versus reality in terms of marketing and personal branding. We are going to touch on that briefly. The majority of marketing communication exists in order to balance the worlds of perception and reality among consumers… among your clients… among the people buying into your brand. When it comes to social media there is an imbalance of the two worlds. There seems to be more perceived value of the tool than the the actual reality (at this given moment).
We can talk about the growth of networks and the stats surrounding the baby boomer adoption of Facebook. We can talk about the growth of Twitter and the role it plays in international foreign policy. However, the fact remains that social media is still a growing tool in the world of personal branding and communication.
We are still in the infancy of this communication medium. That is the reality.
I am not discounting the value of perception. If a tool is perceived to have high value… it is my belief… that mass adoption is going to come much, much quicker than previously anticipated. What happens when perception turns into reality and your company is left behind because you didn’t change… you didn’t adapt? What happens when the OTHER individual gets the job because you didn’t use the tools at your fingertips to be known… to be recognized as a change agent?
There will always be the balance of perception and reality in any form of communications advancement. Did anyone really perceive the true value of television before mass adoption? What about radio? Newspaper? We tend to only leverage a communications medium after mass adoption. Get ahead of the crowd… leverage now.
It only makes true branding sense to stay ahead of the curve. It is your job as business owners, marketing directors, and C-level employees to watch for the perception turning over to reality.
What do you think? Do we actually have an imbalance?
Kyle writes a regular blog at KyleLacy.com and is founder and CEO of Brandswag, a social media strategy and training company. His blog has been featured on Wall Street Journal’s website and Read Write Web’s daily blog journal. Recently, Kyle was voted as one of the top 150 social media blogs in the world (on two websites), and produces regular keynote speeches across the Midwest. He also just finished writing Twitter Marketing for Dummies by Wiley Publishing.