Is social the new dirty word?

I woke up in a cold sweat the other morning, memories of the early 2000s floating in my head. Remember the insanity when everyone wanted to throw the “e-” prefix in front of everything? Good thing we all learned from that lesson.

Social strategies and tools are adding, and will continue to add, real value across the public and private sector. However, we must avoid turning the social prefix into the next dirty word. I am already seeing executives shaking their heads at the term, let’s rope it in and keep talking about business and citizen value. In the end, that’s all anyone cares about anyway.


Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

John Moore

Initially there was a lot of appeal about the shiny new capabiities. Marketing was probably the most excited. However, it led to confusion over the terms, lack of differentiation (as everyone had an e- something).

John Moore

Thanks for sharing that link. Terminology is something we should always be aware of, just have to determine the best ways to minimize the negative impact of words we choose while maximizing the message. -John

Terrence (Terry) Hill PHR

Not only is “social networks” a dirty word, but I seem to remember a previous post about the term “blog” being denigrated as well. The problem is that people associate social networks with their teens’ fascination with Facebook and MySpace, which is seen as merely a distraction with no redeeming value. The challenge is to prove them wrong by touting success stories.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Hi John – As Steve mentioned below…we tore up this whole language conversation a couple months ago…with several big fighters in the ring, including Mark Drapeau, Andrea DiMaio and Chris Dorobek. I’m not sure we reached a consensus…other than to agree that language is important!

I use “knowledge network” to describe GovLoop (acknowledging that there are inherent social elements)…but also use words like “collaborative tools” and “new media” interchangeably. It really depends on the audience and/or goals of the key stakeholders.