The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.

Had an idea for a post that somehow became a video:-)

Here is a link to the video Social is a Head Fake

Script for the video above:

There’s an offensive tactic in basketball called the “head fake.” It’s used when a player with the ball wants to get around a defender. The head fake requires the offensive player to pretend movement one way or another. If the defender bites on the head fake, the offensive player simply cuts in the opposite direction, leaving the defender in the dust.

Most inexperienced players bite on the head fake.

A countermeasure to the head fake is to “watch the belly button.” You see, no matter how many gyrations offensive players make with their heads and shoulders, the core is last thing to move. By focusing on the belly button, a defender has the best indication of when the offensive player will make their move.

I’ve been speaking with executives about Social Media for the past five years and I’ve learned something. The word “Social” as in “Social Media” and “Social Networking” is a head fake. The belly button that senior execs, business owners, and yes so-called Social Media experts frequently miss can be found in the terms Media and Networking.

Business owners know what “the Media” are: print and broadcast (radio and television). Senior Execs  know what “the Networks” are–they have names like ABC, NBC, CBS, and Westwood One

When looking at communications technologies, we’ve always understood that mediums are for carrying messages. Networks aggregate audiences for those messages. This isn’t rocket science.

Today we’re witnessing one of the largest revolutions in communications technologies. We’ve seen an explosion in the number of mediums that businesses have access to. Many of those mediums have built in networks, which can deliver corporate messages to the precise audiences that they were intended for. And here’s an important difference between these new networks and the old ones…the new networks allow the audience to talk back.

So, before you get all hung up on Social Media, take a step back and simply look at the communications options that you didn’t have just few years ago. Now ask yourself a question:

Over the past few years, are you happy with the return you’ve gotten from your investments in “the Media” and their “Networks.” If the answer is “yes,” great, continue doing what you are doing.

But, if you’re like most businesses, whose advertising dollars just don’t reach the audiences that they used to, whose PR folks have access to less journalists to cover your stories, just consider the fact that there is an alternative. You now have the ability to reach exactly the audiences that you need through your using your own mediums and your own networks.

The trick is to not go for the head fake. Keep your eye on the belly button.

Filed under: Social Media


Good job my friend, maybe “The Other Ron” can make an appearance next time :).

Jason Tucker
January 26, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ron Ploof, iWatchLife. iWatchLife said: homerun by @ronploof » “Social” is a Head Fake […]

Tweets that mention RonAmok! » “Social” is a Head Fake --
January 26, 2011

As a basketball “junkie,” I loved the analogy — simple, easy to understand, and an excellent summary of both traditional & new methodologies.

Mike Natelson
January 26, 2011

Good post, Ron. Can we sign up the stick figure for the next game? 😉

February 1, 2011

Great insight. It hadn’t occurred to me that there might be differences between the two, and therefore differences in the ways they are used. Perhaps I can find a use for our corporate Facebook page after all.

BTW, since I’m a word-nerd (sorry), plural of medium is media not mediums (except when you mean fortune-tellers).

February 7, 2011

Thanks GMS!

Just one point for clarification, I use the grammatically incorrect word “mediums” intentionally. It’s use is explained in an earlier post

February 8, 2011

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