The catch-all term for these platforms we use is social media. I’ve found that term isn’t something some clients can wrap their heads around. I’ve have better success telling them this new focus is on being social, connected, helpful and accessible using adaptive media tools. That helps them make the mental separation between the nuts and bolts (setting up profiles, learning platforms like Twitter, creating basic web presences and integrating into their existing on or offline spheres) and the actual effective use and forward thinking aspects.
Why adaptive media? Because in the end the platforms and applications are just tools, and they are adaptive. They require the user to adapt to a more inclusive set of societal rules, to get back into a communication mode instead of a sales or quota mode, to relearn how to be human even in promotion or business, more. They also adapt constantly, changing almost daily. Some live in a niche (Twitter), some fall out of fashion (MySpace) or lose funding or close for other reasons (TipJoy), some grow exponentially for a while only to begin to fade away (Friendster), some seem to eat the rest of the tools alive (Google), but in the end – they are only tools.
If you call it what it is and work on changing the midset behind the use of the tools, it’s easier to create an atmosphere where you can ride out the volatile nature of the social web and find growth no matter what happens to the tools you use to do it. The social mindset isn’t going anywhere, but it will become a more connected way of living and doing business that will outlast whatever tools you use to do it. Adapt in this age of adaptive media, and don’t trip yourself up by attaching yourself so firmly to one tool you can’t float if it sinks.