Social Media Marketing, a Study in Semantics

“It’s not about vengeance, it’s about justice.”

-Every cop drama/revenge movie ever

If you have watched TV or seen a movie in the last 5 years, you’ve heard the quote that started this post.  From Jack Bauer to Mel Gibson to Tinky Winky the Teletubby (I’m not positive about this last one, but I’m sure some of her squeaks can be translated to mean it.)

So what’s the difference between “vengeance” and “justice”, isn’t it all really just an issue of semantics?

What I Meant To Say Was…

It always comes down to intent and the motivations behind particular actions.  If you plan to “string someone up by their toes” because they kidnapped your daughter and blackmailed you into assassinating a potential Presidential candidate, you are in the field of  “vengeance”; but, if the toe-stringing is done because “they need to be held accountable for their actions in accordance with the law” then you are more on the side of “justice”.  (Notice, someone is still being stung up by their toes.)

So, let’s bring this back around, shall we?

What is your “because statement”?

It’s all a game of semantics in a way because it all comes down to intent.  Why is your plan laid out the way it is?  What is your intention with every step you take towards your endgame?  Fill in the blanks with the following statements you’ve probably heard in recent meetings:

“We need to have someone create a Facebook fan page for our product because ______________________ .”

“We need to get someone on Twitter because ____________________ .”

“Our social media marketing department needs to be expanded because _______________________. “

I Don’t Know

There is a great story from Bill Cosby about him coming home to find that his son has shaved the middle of his head and when he asked him a series of follow up questions the only answer he got was, “I don’t know.”  Then, when asked by his wife why he didn’t kill their son as punishment, Cosby replied, “I don’t know.”

It’s a great defense:  I don’t know.

The problem with “I don’t know” is just that.  There can be no improvement or endgame when the reasons behind actions are unknown.

I never said that vengeance or justice was a more noble cause.  Who is more in the right:  Creasy from Man on Fire or Sergeant Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon? Hard to say, but at least both their actions have purpose.

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of the “shiny new toy” and act simply because others are acting, but make sure you have a “because statement” that benefits the goals you have in place for you marketing or PR strategy.  If you need to, designate one person to the “parent” at each meeting and ask, “Now, why are we doing that?” to every idea or tactic put in place.

When I started this blog, I sat down and created my “because statement” and in the vein of openness, I shall share it with you now:

“I want to create and write a blog on marketing/PR ideals using messages taken from films because I want to share my ideas and force myself to learn and grow in fields I love and attempt to help people along the way.”

It will never be carved in stone or taught in graduate-level marketing classes, but it’s there and I know it and I always have something to go back to if I forget why I write and read.

What are your “because statements”?  Whether they be for your personal blog or tactics that your team is implementing, make sure there is something there.

Whether you are fighting for justice or vengeance, just make sure you are fighting for something.


About Joey Strawn

Digital marketing sociologist and public relations specialist with experience on national and local campaigns with a love for film and the things it says about our culture and business. Joey is the Senior Social Media Strategist at ISM in Nashville, TN and is in the business of helping people and companies deal with the new universe of social media in their marketing and PR endeavors.
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1 Response to Social Media Marketing, a Study in Semantics

  1. Meredith says:

    My first thought was something Ed (I think it was Ed) kept saying: keep asking “so what?” or “why?” It’s a similar idea to your “because” statements. It forces you to keep pushing until you truly understand what it is you’re doing and why.

    “I want to write a blog” – so what? Why? Because…

    If you can’t answer, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

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