Australia: Industry Head, Social Media

Marketing Magazine name Industry Head of Social Media for Australia. What is an Industry? What is an Influencer? What commodity does social media create, to make an industry?

Kate Kendall (@KateKendallOpens in a new tab.) from Marketing MagazineOpens in a new tab. approached me a little while ago to write a piece on the “state of the social media industry”. I hunkered down and tried to figure out what I’ve seen change since returning to Australia in 2005 and it’s now been published in the 2010 Media Survival Guide.

Head of Industry, Social Media, Australia
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The Media Survival Guide has a bunch of sections with pieces from Industry Head, a panel, case study, future directions etc in Out of Home, Search, Direct Marketing, Web, Print, TV Radio, Mobile, Events/Experiential and Social Media. I am in the Social Media section along with :

Social Media Industry

An industry is “the people or companies engaged in a particular kind of commercial enterprise” (Google itOpens in a new tab.). I’m not sure that’s narrow enough. If everyone makes Girl Guide cookies for one day’s fundraising, is there a Girl Guide cookie industry? And social media – true social media, not agencies using our channels to continue broadcasting – has more in common with Girl Guide cookie fundraisers than it does with say, mining or manufacture.  Caring but not committed, KPI (Key Performance Indicators) often unclear therefore so are ROI (Return on Investment). Unless there is an industry for making people like you – Movie Making or Cosmetics maybe? 😛

social media industryMashable Opens in a new tab.(Ben Parr) solves the question of “Is Social Media an Industry” for us. Well, the crowd does…

Industry Head

The magazine has articles from “Industry Heads”:

  • Out of Home: Helen Willoughby, CEO, Outdoor Media Association (OMA),
  • Search: Julian Persaud: director of online, Google Australia
  • Direct Marketing: Rob Edwards, CEO of the Australian Direct Marketing Association, (ADMA)
  • Web: Paul Fisher, CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Print: Joe Talcott, group director of marketing and audience development, News Limited
  • TV/Radio: Harold Mitchell, AO, executive chairman, Mitchell Communication Group
  • Mobile, Rohit Dadwal, managing director, Mobile Marketing Association, Asia Pacific
  • Events/Experiential: Tracy Jones, national president, Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)
  • Social Media: Laurel Papworth, social network strategist aka @SilkCharmOpens in a new tab. aka ME!

The title “Industry Head” set me thinking – what is an industry? And what does the Head of an Industry look like? Does it need a “body” – organised mediation? Especially with social media where there are none of the usual regulatory, lobbying, agency requirements?

Industry Head, Social Media

What makes a head of industry? Is it a job title within a major corporation, irrespective of which human being is filling that job? Is it the head of a body, the person who has been given the voice by the masses (voted in) to speak on their behalf? Is it a personality – Harold Mitchell probably fulfills all three criteria but definitely “personality”.  This reminds me of what I teach about influence:

  • loners with style – the guy that shows up to black tie in an “original” outfit. Unique selling point is being truly unique. Vampires. 😛
  • out there – full of original ideas, laughed at, eventually respected as an influencer. Inventor or Futurist.
  • position of unique knowledge – has studied hard, lots and lots of experience.  knows stuff. Professor or Scientist.
  • have external resources: can be a complete moron but has the accoutrements of wealth. Entourage.
  • have the most friends: barely known by any of them, but the largest database, crowd support. Famous for being Famous.
  • famous within their circle: small number of friends but well regarded by all. Recognition
  • connecting up the social ladder: spends most time connecting to important people, not lots of people. Knows people.
  • connects out to other circles: distributor of information, on the outer circle but doing interesting things. Explorer.

So social network influence is either courted with the crowd, or with peers or up the social ladder. Or it is conferred on those who don’t necessarily seek it – because of their position in society, original thinking, or unique knowledge. There’s probably a bunch of others but that’s all I can think of right now – how about you?

In an “industry” where each voice is striving to be unique with content and/or build an audience of followers, I suggest that we have actually created a multi-headed Hydra monster.

I do think that some will try to set up peak bodies or industry organisations to “own” social media. Cliques of agencies that gather to share war stories or…  concerned citizens that want to regulate “free speech”. Maybe one to protect user generated content from agencies and media organisations, though nobody liked the name I gave it (EEI EEI OrgOpens in a new tab.).

What say you – is social media an Industry? with a Head? needs a Body?

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

18 thoughts on “Australia: Industry Head, Social Media

  1. Australia: Industry Head, Social Media:

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  3. love the points you bring up in this article! I am just starting my own “social media” company, and inherently just assumed I was working in the social media industry (as a result I’m reading lots of industry blogs and fell upon yours today!).

  4. Excellent point about social network influence, and whom this hinges on. I think there is great spectrum in this respect with industry and business model being the central source of differentiation “the head” and the body is the support system of following (perhaps even like the foundation, or roots to the head to keep the industry alive.)

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