My love affair with social media strategy recently began by happenstance. Out of necessity, situations at work called for someone, at the very minimum, to work as a community manager. As the cliché goes in the military, I “Rogered Up,” having no clue that was the actual title of what I was getting myself into. But that’s the kind of person I am: someone who would jump on the grenade rather than cower away from it. Okay. Enough with the military locutions.
By nature I am a storyteller. I love to tell stories through video, photography, graphics and writing. My style can be very illusory at times, but a labor of love nonetheless. When you combine the four mediums, being careful to respect the intrinsic strengths of each, the collective story narrates more dynamically than in singularity. This is called ‘transmedia’.
I found the same principles within social media. Each platform is separate in function and expression. To effectively tell a brand’s or an organization’s ‘story,’ it is counter-intuitive to post the same style of message across each toolset. In the entertainment industry, this is called ‘crossmedia.’ Crossmedia differs from transmedia, in that the same narrative style and delivery differentiates only through digital rendering for each platform (i.e. computer, tablet, smart phone, etc.). However, mirroring across each platform does not help develop a story any further. The very same concept applies to social media.
Best practices in social media dictate the requirement for variation in delivery. Psychologically, followers expect different styles and angles of a ‘story’ on each of their expressive platforms. If not, what’s the use of following a brand’s or an organization’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and etcetera profiles? They are all saying the same thing – probably through automation. You can’t mask the smell of automation just as much as you can’t mask the smell of charred turkey on Thanksgiving. Seriously. That’s why God invented the timer and thermometer. And that is why social media strategy is necessary. It is the regulating ‘tempuratic timer,’ or regulation of storytelling ‘thermodynamics.’ The basic definition of thermodynamics is:
“It defines macroscopic variables (such as temperature, internal energy, entropy, and pressure) that characterize materials and radiation, and explains how they are related and by what laws they change with time. Thermodynamics describes the average behavior of very large numbers of microscopic constituents, and its laws can be derived from statistical mechanics.”
Before you scoff at me for being tangential, let me relate back to my point. I love storytelling. I love the idea of telling one story in varying ways through different mediums. This is called transmedia. I have a new love for social media because a similar dynamic can be achieved through strategizing across different social media platforms. Both ideological practices convect quantities of “temperature, energy and entropy” towards “absolute zero,” or “Thermodynamic equilibrium:” The achievement of balance. You maximize a story’s impact by developing balance of enterprising values across different mediums and platforms. Complicated simplicity, right?
Don’t judge me for just “geeking out.” Due to their relatively conceptual newness, it is very difficult to define transmedia and social media strategy – kind of like trying to describe color to a blind person. Again with the clichés… I promise I knew nothing about thermodynamics until writing this. And I made up a new word: ‘temperatic.’ I may have even related the concept to my point incorrectly. Or maybe not. It makes sense in my head. Hopefully it makes sense in yours.