What the fuck is my Social Media "Strategy"?

Lately I've been trying to get a better grasp on the social media vortex of hyper-nonsense. I'm not to sure if this really helps anyone understand social media or what their strategy might be, but I can say with all confidence that it's not one of these. Here's my stab at trying to organize what essentially is the human condition online. First, I broke down the social media landscape by core activities:

  • Connect - Connecting to another person
  • Share - Sharing any form of content (image, video, audio, text, code, etc...) with another person
  • Comment - Posting a comment (opinion, review, recommendation, flame...) about any form of content
  • Publish - Publishing any form of original content with the intend to share and allow others to comment
  • Contribute - Contributing to any form of content originally created by another person
  • Collaborate -  Collaborating with multiple individuals to create any form of original content
  • Play - Incorporates all of the above in the pursuit of entertainment

Next, I categorized the different vehicles of social media:

  • Social Networks (Facebook, Bebo, My Space,...)
  • Social Sharing (Digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr,...)
  • Reviews & Opinions (eOpinions, Amazon, Yelp,...)
  • Blogs (Wordpress, Blogger, Moveable Type,...)
  • Forums & Discussion Boards (Yahoo Answers/Messages, Answer.com,...)
  • Social Knowledge (Wikipedia, Squidoo,...)
  • Multi-player games (Farmville, Mafia War, World of Warcraft,...)

Finally, I group the social media categories and activities:

  • Connect > Social Networks
  • Share > Social Sharing
  • Comment > Review & Opinions
  • Publish > Blogs
  • Contribute > Forums & Discussion Boards
  • Collaborate >  Social Knowledge
  • Play > Multi-player Games

Obviously there is not a one to one relationship between the social media activity and form. Under social networks, Facebook contains all seven activities but it's primary activity or "what it's know for" is connecting people. It's really more of a continuum between the activities where Connecting is at the lowest-level of participation by the user and Playing is at the highest.

The struggle for most companies is that increasing level of participation goes completely against the prevailing corporate culture of risk aversion. The primary concern usually revolves around an employee or customer saying something negative about the company so the best course of action is to stay out of the conversation. Sounds reasonable except that by staying out of the conversation you are actually increasing, not decreasing, your risk. Just search "Dell Hell" or "AT&T Fail" and you will see what happens to those companies who are not participating, or even listening, to the conversation.