When I first heard Coleman’s latest television spot, which touts the camping supply manufacturer as the inventor of the ‘original social networking site’, I thought, ‘Wow. That’s smart.’ Then I listened to it again. And again. And, I thought, ‘Wow. That’s not entirely right.’
At first blush, it seems like a great theory. The idea of building relationships with people that you may not know intimately. But, without a platform, without a mob around you, is it even similar? I just don’t think it is.
Unlike social media, camping places you in an environment with unfamiliar surroundings. It removes you from the everyday. Social media, however, is intended to integrate into the everyday. To become an extension of what you already do and where you already are.
While I don’t doubt that one could have a tent custom-built to hold as many friends as they have followers, in all likelihood, one is not camping with thousands of virtual acquaintances or near strangers. You are camping with at least one or two people that you know, most times. Therefore, you at least know one social point of entry for expanding your relationships. On Twitter, you don’t know the social point of entry day one. And the virtual interface, in most instances, requires a bit more interaction than real life to cement a relationship. (Yes, there are exceptions to the last point. But just follow my train of thought J)
One good smack of the swatter and you can win against mother nature’s pesky friends. Unfortunately, the (few) bad apples in the social media sphere are more persistent. They can, and in some instances do, create multiple handles, fake Facebook pages and lurk as they see fit. While this is isolated, it warrants a mention.
Theoretically, there isn’t an interruption in the social media dialog, unless it is self inflicted. You can take your smartphone into the woods, but the same can’t be said for the taking the tent and campfire into your office. To that end, you aren’t going to be at the campsite day in and day out, thereby missing the opportunity to consistently deliver your message to the target audience. That’s two points for social media.
While this argument could go on and on, the idea that social network started by assembling small groups of people is preposterous. While Coleman’s campaign is clearly intended to put the brand in the company of a favorable concept, social networking, does it ultimately make a mockery of social media, implying it is a quaint activity relevant to small groups?
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