5 Ways The Digital World & Social Media Are Changing What Is "Real"


Magic  How do you define real in a world that too often seems to be like the illusion of a magic act? Dictionary.com defines "real" (as a  noun) as something that actually exists

A tweet is here today and gone tomorrow. Take down a server and your post may disappear. Is it the vapor trail that makes it real? 

Does it .. whatever "it" may be .. need to be tangible to be real? Recently my eBook, Social Media Marketing GPS, was turned down to be included in a list of books about social media because it was not "professionally published and printed and available for purchase on amazon.com." Now everyone has the right to set their own guidelines of course but .. was the gentleman really saying it was not a real book? The oxymoron was the list was part of a digital publication. 

I began to wonder .. how comfortable are our customers in the digital world? As experiences in online and offline worlds continue to blurr the idea of what is real is shifting. Here are  5 questions that might help you find the secrets to make your next social media magic act "real." 

1. What is real for our customers? Books. An eBook, an iPad or Kindle book or a hard copy 'dead tree' book?

2. What is real for our customers? Relationships. Relationships begun in childhood, at work, on a commuter train or from a tweet or blog post?

3. What is real for our customers? Thought Leadership. Expertise reinforced through tweets, blog posts, Facebook status updates, traditional books or newspaper articles?

4. What is real for our customers? Education. Learning for free through digital posts, webinars, podcasts or in a paid class room settings?

5. What is real for our customers? Purchase Decisions. Purchase decision information and sights gained from people you know, the company or from strangers on Yelp, tweets, blog posts or tweets?

In her Twitter interview, from Social Media Marketing GPS, Liz Strauss, Successful Blog,  tweeted - In the end doesn't it come down to who we are and how we define a REAL relationship? 

Five years from now we probably won't be having this conversation; but for many organizations it's an important issue to address today. How do you define "real" in the 21st century digital world? More importantly, how do you customers define what is real? 


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Social media is a collection of performances and created online identities. It is, perhaps, real - but real in a sense completely different than what is real in our lives disconnected from it.

Posted by: Noah Echols on Jun 17, 2010 12:03:41 PM

@Noah - I like your concepts .. real but different than what we are use to ... Can't help but wonder what the kids who are born into playing with sites like Disney's Penguiins will consider "real."

Posted by: Toby on Jun 17, 2010 12:15:58 PM

Hi Toby,

That is was turned down was a huge mistake. Your book is tryuly superb. Jaust bacause the innovative way you made it. I came up with the idea of writing novells trough twitter with friends. You paved the way already. You are very visionary and that fact alone echoes the future. I'll follow you on twitter and this site. Hope you'll follow me. I am only just staring off. Keep up the great work!

Henk Schrikkema, Netherlands

Posted by: Henk Schrikkema on Jun 21, 2010 4:42:21 AM

[email protected] - any thanks for your kind words and support. it is very much appreciated. Some times you have an off the wall idea and just have to run with it. I suppose the hope is that more people will think it's innovative than daft! good luck with your twitter novel.

Posted by: Toby on Jun 21, 2010 9:04:04 AM

It's always the perception of the reader or listener. Communication does not exist in the sound of OUR voices, but in the ears and eyes of our readers. What they hear is what counts. And, it may not be what we said or intended. Hence, the practice of questioning becomes critical to real understanding. I like this post...it questions, and poses answers, but allows others to contribute.

Posted by: Yvonne DiVita on Jun 22, 2010 10:03:38 AM

@yvonne one of my favorite aspects of comments is the new thoughts and ideas people bring to the discussion. thanks for reminding us that it's not about us e.g., the brand but our customers.

Posted by: Toby on Jun 22, 2010 10:30:11 AM

just came your website via lipsticking, love the wonderful info you give on marketing. well done

Posted by: Chichi on Jun 23, 2010 12:41:45 AM

First the question is how real are we online? If our Facebook profiles are just about as real as we get then is there even a separation between on and offline? This post got me thinking. Well done.

Posted by: Kyle Lacy on Jun 24, 2010 12:34:00 PM

Social Media is the wave of the future. Its crazy how the internet has completely changed the media as we knew it.

Posted by: Connor Bringas on Jun 28, 2010 7:23:10 PM

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