The difference between social media and media that is social

This post is not about “social media”. It’s about media that is social. What’s the difference?

“Social Media” (Or earned media) is the collective term used for everything involving twitter/facebook/blog/youtube/flickr etc. It’s usually about listening, engaging and growing a community.

Media that is social is the sort of media that supports an idea by providing a community participatory solution. Here’s an example: Pavegen is the first commercial pavement that creates energy from people’s footsteps. The electricity produced is used to power signs, lights and information kiosks. The pavegens can be branded and will actually work nicely with a promotion leading people (literally) to a specific store.


It seems everyone is a winner: The brand gains publicity for the unique approach and saves on electricity bills. The consumer gets a better “experience” and the environment gets some help.

Here’s another example showing how The city of Denver is using parking meters to help raise money for homeless people in Denver.meter4

It’s simple, Every time you put money in the meter you support food, shelter and care for the homeless people in your area. How many people will avoid paying for the meters now? How many people will feel better paying for their parking space? How good will the council look? Here’s from the Mayor: “This grassroots campaign is projected to raise roughly $100,000 per year giving the general public a constructive way to help Denver’s homeless. “The donation meter demonstrates yet another innovative way in which this community is responding to Denver’s Road Home and our commitment to ending homelessness” – Mayor Hickenlooper.

The real social media isn’t about twitter or youtube. It’s about people doing something together, a bigger idea and making things better.

Would love to hear about more examples of real social media. Got some?

copyright FRANk Media 2018