Social Media Is Dead – So Says Steve Rubel

In 2006 all media went social. Pretty much every newspaper, TV network and publication has wholeheartedly embraced these technologies. Newspapers have comments, RSS feeds, blogs, wikis and other forms of two-way communications. TV networks have a presence in Second Life and more. The lines have blurred. Even some of the marketers themselves are producing content that could be called “media.”

I think I have to call bullshit on Steve here, just because mainstream media “participated” in social media in 2006 doesn’t change the essence of what social media is. Kind of like me pissing in a lake doesn’t change the what that lake is.

To me the difference between social media and “the media” or “big media” is control and influence. Social media is primarily controlled by the participants, by the viewers, readers, listeners etc. where as traditional media is primarily controlled by an organization with a narrower agenda like a corporation, or a political party.

In the spirit of the recent tagging meme that has been floating around i’m going to tag some folks that i would like to weigh in on this, how about it David from Logic and Emotion, Pete from Mashable, Neville from FIR, and Shel from FIR, and Joseph from Jaffe Juice.

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  1. Posted December 28, 2006 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    OK, I just gave my 2 cents for what it’s worth over at L+E.

  2. Posted December 29, 2006 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Karl – you’ve just suggested a great discussion topic for an upcoming FIR. Stay tuned!

    FWIW, I agree with Steve that the lines have blurred…

  3. david weiner
    Posted December 29, 2006 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for calling him out … it’s not that social media isn’t fading into media media, it’s that the way he chose to write about it was so “Die Social Media Die Die Die.”

  4. Posted January 3, 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


    You have a link on the Google homepage… NIIIICE!

    Back to the question at hand (nice image btw of you whizzing in the lake):
    Content is always “sponsored’ to some degree. Even a web forum where the content is produced by the participants has someone looking over that content and tacitly approving it or not. He who admins the site…

    Steve Rubel is just trying to get ahead of the curve here… everything stops being hot at some stage if not outright dying. When that happens, he can say he was the first. All the same, some of the lame attempts by Ford, Coke etc… to create social media do seem to be speeding Web 2.0 to the gallows.


  5. Posted January 7, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink


    I really like the idea of tagging people to get their opinion. Not sure if you saw this elsewhere or if it’s your own idea but it’s great!

    And highly appropriate to the post content.


  6. Posted January 7, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    thanks Paul, actually i got the idea from that whole 5 things you don’t know about me” and other similar memes. The 5 things meme relied upon people tagging 5 other people they wanted to answer the question, I just replicated that for the purpose of trying to get some other opinions :-) It actually worked spectacularly well.

7 Trackbacks

  • [...] Steven Rubel recently proclaimed that there’s no such thing as Social Media because “in 2006 all media went social“. Throwing up RSS feeds and enabling comments – or SMOing articles in the Washington Post– does not make you newspaper a social media newspaper. That’s just retrofitting, like PDFing your brochure and placing it online and calling it a website. I’m siding with Karl Long on this one. [...]

  • [...] Karl Long has a great post on this where he encourages others to chime in on this issue. Follow his links. [...]

  • [...] Robert Scoble stated: “As for how bloggers can play in this process? I think we just are going to come up short in coverage of campaigns when compared to the mainstream press.” I agree with almost all of what Robert did on the trip (based on what I’ve seen so far). That said, I think Robert had his PodTech/video blogging hat on a little too tightly here when making this statement that covered his listening ears! Seperately, Karl Long in his debunking of “Social Media is Dead” stated: “To me the difference between social media and “the media” or “big media” is control and influence. Social media is primarily controlled by the participants, by the viewers, readers, listeners etc. where as traditional media is primarily controlled by an organization with a narrower agenda like a corporation, or a political party.” [...]

  • [...] There’s been an interesting thread started by Steve Rubel who claims, more or less, that social media is dead. Hmm. Steve’s PR agency royally screws up not once, not twice, but at least three times when trying to use social media (flogs or paying off bloggers) on behalf of their clients. If your firm performed so poorly and was outed in such an embarrassing manner, wouldn’t you want to distance yourself from the channel as well? [...]

  • [...] Robert Scoble stated: “As for how bloggers can play in this process? I think we just are going to come up short in coverage of campaigns when compared to the mainstream press.” I agree with almost all of what Robert did on the trip (based on what I’ve seen so far). That said, I think Robert had his PodTech/video blogging hat on a little too tightly here when making this statement that covered his listening ears! Seperately, Karl Long in his debunking of “Social Media is Dead” stated: “To me the difference between social media and “the media” or “big media” is control and influence. Social media is primarily controlled by the participants, by the viewers, readers, listeners etc. where as traditional media is primarily controlled by an organization with a narrower agenda like a corporation, or a political party.” [...]

  • [...] And the derision doesn’t end at our agency. Social media die-hard and head of the Edelman Me2Revolution Steve Rubel has even recently argued that social media is dead. His theory is that now that big media is beginning to participate, social media is no longer the realm of the masses. Karl Long takes the position that as long as the masses still have some say in user-generated / social media spheres, it will survive. And Dave Armano agrees, citing the distinct lines between mainstream media and social media and predicts that social media will gain more mainstream credibility. [...]

  • [...] Social Media Is Dead – So Says Steve Rubel Dec 28, 2006 – Well this one got some comments I actually tagged some people in the post that I wanted to respond to the post, I should do that more. [...]

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