The words ‘social media’ have always been a little off-putting to me. Too much legacy broadcast baggage in the concept of ‘media’.
‘Social web’ works better because it gets closer to the idea of networks assembling for purpose — sharing, conversing, creating, posturing, all the things we do on Twitter, Facebook and now Ello (some of us anyway).
But still . . . it’s passive and bit childish (Do kids still read E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web?)
And what are you if you practice a profession that uses social platforms also for purpose? Digital or social strategist? Too formal and defined by platforms rather than what you do with them. Social marketer? Doesn’t really work for people involved with political campaigns, nonprofits and government. And it gives ammunition to those who want social networks free from advertising pollution.
At least for the latter question, I have the answer.
Actually, it isn’t my answer. I found it in a Medium article by one of the smartest woman writing about the social web today — Alexandra Samuel. She refers to ‘interaction design’ as a professional role, among others. Without question, it’s the best description I’ve heard about what we should be doing or how we should be thinking when working on strategies using social tools, whether for a business, agency or nonprofit.

Regularly exploring and assessing new social platforms in this way is essential for anyone who is working directly in social media, interaction design or online marketing more broadly, since it’s the way we refill our well of ideas and get inspired to think of new ways to approach the platforms we already use.

Being an ‘interaction designer’ means putting first what should be the goal of social strategies — reciprocal connection — and conceiving digital projects or social content that give a boost to a kind of mutuality.
I like it. Call me that from now on.
Originally published by “interaction designer” Boyd Neil on his personal website on October 1, 2014.