The Evolution of Conversation: The Impact of Social Media

The definition of conversation is the informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy; the ability to talk socially with others.

We do it intuitively, as naturally as breathing. We don’t really think about it (although sometimes we should). It just happens. We converse with one another because we were taught at a very young age to express ourselves. Conversation can be inspiring, informative, joyful, painful, empowering, and much more. But what makes it such an important topic right now in the age of everything digital?

Because conversation is the very thing that businesses and brands rely on when it comes to online content. Content has been transformed into conversation and is delivered in many forms by the brainchild called social media. Content is about much more than a website. Content in the form of social media has given conversation an eye-opening new impetus.

The power of conversation (content) through social media now belongs to everyone.

More than ever, your audience is central to and part of your online marketing team. Discussions and conversations are now sought-after, value-added marketing tools. People in your audience have inevitably become part of your content planning and online marketing objectives.

Before online interaction, conversations were primarily the role played by customer service. But customer service means so much more now, whether live or virtual. The person on the other end of a phone or in a chat room must be well informed and conversant in an exchange of how-to's and why's.

If conversation is an exchange of thoughts, ideas, and opinions, then social media has crowned conversation as the ‘prime distribution channel’. Sharing via conversation or conversation via sharing – whichever way you look at it -- provides the opportunity for visibility and influence.

And let’s not forget the ‘independent’ influencer -- the everyman or everywoman who command center stage and will be heard. Gone are the days when politicians and business leaders could easily dodge an onerous question or issue. Social media is about answers and information.

Early on in the evolution of online conversation, a channel most often referred to a website. Now, a website is only one of many channels that might include email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, mobile and so many more. Channels sometime interact and work together, but that interaction depends on what goes where, with the goal being to stimulate conversation. A channel can add to the conversation or just sit there, depending largely on how the feedback is managed. The zenith of shared conversation (content) is going viral through the channels that you have hand-picked.

Who’s to say to what extent conversation will evolve as smart technology, artificial intelligence and robotics enter the equation. It’s a brain tickler that’s sure to invite plenty of creative, social conversation, good, bad or indifferent.