Rip Van Winkle: Waking Up to Discover Social Media 101

If Rip Van Winkle had walked into the Hilton New York to attend SES New York 2010, he might not have realized right away that a revolution had taken place since he’d attended Search Engine Strategies NYC 2004. That’s how you get into trouble.

Statue of Rip Van Winkle, Irvington, NY

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Looking over the conference agenda, he would have seen tracks named “Search Fundamentals” and “Clinics” that would have seemed familiar. He would have seen sessions named “Introduction to Search Engine Marketing” and “Link Building Basics” that he had attended in 2004. He would have seen exhibitors like Google, Yahoo!, iProspect, and Bruce Clay that he’d visited six years earlier.

Then, it would dawn on him.

One of the tracks was called “Search & Social.” That would be a new phrase. Then, he’d notice that one of the first sessions was entitled, “Digital Asset Optimization.” That would be a new topic. And then he’d discover sponsors named Bing and Facebook. Those would be exhibitors that he hadn’t visited back in 2004.

And in addition to the small army of reporters and bloggers, he would have seen crews from WebProNews Videos and SESConferenceExpo’s Channel on YouTube. They hadn’t there six years earlier.

If Rip Van Winkle had listened in as Jamie ODonnell of SEO-PR interviewed Liana “Li” Evans of Serengeti Communications at SES New York 2010, he might have finally realized that a revolution had taken place.

They were talking about Social Media, a term that wasn’t coined until June 2004. I know, because I was there when Chris Shipley invented the phrase to announce her event, BlogOn 2004: The Business of Social Media.

Shipley had asked me to write an optimized press release and I told her that “social media” wasn’t a search term. But she still wanted to use that phrase in the headline, so I included keywords like “business opportunities,” “blogging,” and “social networking” in the subhead so that it had a shot about getting a high ranking for relevant keywords in Google News.

Flash forward to March 2010 and O’Donnell and Evans were now talking about “Social Media 101.” In the video interview, Evans uses words that Rip Van Winkle wouldn’t have heard before — if he’d been asleep since March 2004.

Check it out below.

Social media 101 with Liana Li Evans, Serengeti Communications, at SES New York 2010

And the fact that Rip Van Winkle could watch the video interview on YouTube would have been another wake up call.

Things have changed in the search industry. It’s become the search and social industry. And you can get into trouble if you don’t recognize that fact.

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