January 12, 2006

While we're busy calling this web 2.0 they're calling it CGM

While the debate over what to call or not call this fine time online continues, you might know that a new term has emerged -- one I hadn't seen until the other day: consumer-generated media (CGM). Seriously. While we're linking to one another in a discussion over the validity of a term like web 2.0 and telling smart dumb blonde jokes, they're busy setting up practice areas around CGM.
What they mean by CGM is what we mean by social media. The difference? Theirs is an outside-in, top-down perspective. Ours is an inside-out, bottom up view. CGM is marketing-as-usual's attempt to put the "consumer" under a microscope, to analyze instead of talk; to target instead of listen.
Where Consumer-Generated Media misses the boat -- okay the entire bay -- is with the word "consumer." Never mind that they're trying to talk to people on the NET most of whom laugh at the word CONSUMER and can now tell from Google just what their job is supposed to be in the eyes of these organizations (YOU CONSUME; WE TRY TO UNDERSTAND YOU), but also add in the fact that no one has noticed that we are increasingly becoming producers as well; we are their potential business partners as much as their target markets.
There is an odd mythology among business consultants that you can only be one thing online, that bloggers are just consumers who have blogs. I'm not sure what ELSE they think we do. But I know that they don't understand that some of the world's most influential business people blog and even more get their entertainment and business new from blogs, some of the top influencers they think still only write in print are here, some of the authors whose books they read and bring quotes from into new business pitches are here, kids are here, moms are here, the VCs with the cash are here, their wives and husbands are secretly in love with bloggers here, and if there's one thing we don't want to be called, it's your consumers. We're here as one another's friends, business associates, idea sparkers, challengers, joke tellers, bunthorns, tear wipers, champions, story tellers, and like that.
And let me just reiterate: we're producing too. Not just "generating media," but producing products and services. I'm not going to give you the answer on that one. You can think about it.
I don't know how they've missed the call to ENGAGE rather than "create buzz."
I don't know exactly why they still look at buzz as a to-do-list item rather than the natural result of good ideas.
I don't know where they've been. But they haven't been here. Or they'd know better. Consumer-Generated Media? I'll take Web 2.0 if I have to take anything.
I might just take a Tylenol PM.
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