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Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web by Ashton Kutcher, Brian Solis

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Chapter 4. The New Media University: Social Media 201

As we advance our knowledge of New Media, its implications and opportunities, we realize just how lucky we are to live in the time of the "next" Web.

At this stage, we'll review the platforms and tools that define the terrain of the Social Web so that we may engineer and build the roads, highways, bridges, and necessary constructs of communications, community development, and good will.

But before we jump in, I'd like to introduce a concept to you—one that will make more sense as you scale your socialized communications efforts.

Building and organizing a social media program can be incredibly powerful. As people become increasingly connected and form relationships rooted in passions, alliances, and circumstances, distinct communities emerge and evolve. And, over time, these communities expand, contract, and shift as they foster and steer dialogue and behavior. Contextual networks and the social tools that bind them intrinsically emerge as the communications channels that facilitate interaction and influence.

These channels distribute information to people when and how they choose to receive, process, share, and interact with them.

You, me... we become media.

While once out of reach for most businesses over the years, we now effectively possess the ability to transform any brand of any size into an independent media publishing, broadcasting, and service organization.

The implications are profound. We have the power and capacity to reach ...

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