Is Social Media an Art or a Science?

social media and content marketingI have had the topic of art versus science as it relates to social media in my head for quite some time but it wasn’t until I started writing that a theme actually emerged for my thoughts. Like half the world, I watched the sitcom Cheers faithfully, and for some reason the theme song from that show ran through my mind as I started this article.

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got”

The reason I have this art versus science debate going on is because I am trying to match my background and expertise to this social media stuff I have become so passionate about. What degree would I be pursuing if I was just graduating high school and wanted to get a job in this field? The Bachelor of Arts degree tends to focus on interdisciplinary courses that supplement the student’s learning within his/her concentration. Therefore, someone with a concentration in social media could benefit from courses in psychology (what are people thinking?), sociology (how do people fit into society?), communications (how can I express myself?), even philosophy (what does this all mean?). Whereas the Bachelor of Science degree tends to focus on more technical and scientific classes specific to the major being taken. When you think about analytics, ROI and SEO, a more scientific approach seems to make sense.

“Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

No, there is no way any business owner, small or Fortune 500, can get away from the social media scene. No matter what industry you are in nor whether you are a B2B or B2C company. The best you can do is employ competent people or contract with experts that can capitalize on the power of social media for your business growth. You will need both arts (creative) and science (analytics) backgrounds in the mix.

“You wanna be where everybody knows your name”

Isn’t that the point of social media? You want to be on the channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, et al) that your potential customers/clients are on so that they get to know your name (i.e. brand). I must admit that the part of this new phase in my professional career I miss the most is the relationship building. Personally, I like numbers, I like research, I like analyzing and strategizing, but I LOVE people. I want to get to know them, realize common interests, and find ways to build partnerships. I want everyone to know my name. I just have to get used to the fact that in the social media world, most of these activities occur online rather than in person. But I am confident in what Mark Zuckerberg said at the November 2010 Web 2.0 Summit: “Over the next five years most industries are going to get rethought to be social and designed around people.”

In the final analysis, I think social media is BOTH an art and a science, requiring full brain thinking. Cheers!

What are your thoughts?

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One thought on “Is Social Media an Art or a Science?

  1. Pingback: You Haven’t Missed the Boat in Social Media (yet) | Will Willis Consulting

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