Digital is dead; Long live social media

German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” Which brings me to the word “digital.” It’s a buzz...

German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” Which brings me to the word “digital.” It’s a buzz word that’s had its day. Zeroes and Ones were fine when “digital” meant coding and Web sites, and “AV” nerds turned communications superstars said, “It’s technical, you won’t understand.” But that’s so 21st century.

Today, bragging about “digital” expertise is like saying you have an accounting department. Of course you do. But who cares if you can build Web sites or produce podcasts (even video ones)? Its table stakes. Internal expertise, sure, but “digital,” per se is a commodity.

It’s not about “digital.” It’s about what digital facilitates, which is social media. If 50 is the new 30, social media is the new digital. After all, it’s not about the technology (digital), it’s what the technology makes possible (social media). And social media means social marketing at warp speed.

It’s not about knowing how to create a Facebook page, it’s about knowing how to maximize it. It’s not about only monitoring blogs, it’s about engaging in them in a smart and savvy (and legal) way. Digital is the substrate. Social media is the program. Social marketing is the discipline.

Peter Pitts, director of global healthcare and partner, Porter Novelli

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