[tweetmeme]I’m not sure how I came upon the story first – about Rick Wion being appointed McDonald’s first Director of Social Media – but I thought it was great news because social media is so important now to every company and every human being, actually. So, after trolling around the web to read a few more stories about Mr. Wion, I decided to go to McDonald’s website to read its press release with the official announcement. Nada.
I tried searching his name, social media director, the name of his boss, combining them, and decoupling them. I found nothing (I hope McDonald’s corrects this impression if they read this and I’m wrong). I thought this would be a big deal for the company.
How important is a social media director in McDonald’s or any company? I would think it’s very important – but maybe I’m “into it” more I imagine other people to be. So I went to the trusty Google key word search tool and typed in “social media director.” Not enough data to measure. What? Isn’t social media the greatest thing to hit since the manual typewriter? Aren’t companies scrambling to attract beaucoup Facebook fans and Tweeps?
True, and I was relieved to find that Google shows 1,220,000 searches for “social media.” That’s a nice hefty number. But….that’s less than 1% of 307 million Americans (OK, we shouldn’t count new-born babies) who cared enough about social media to search the term last month.
I have visions of this very small tribe (thanks Seth) of social media maniacs who think they are part of a very large tribe in a world that revolves around pixels and blogs and Steve Jobs. Not so.
There are an awful lot of people who still own the first cell phone they ever bought, could give a hoot about social networks (165,000 searches) and wouldn’t know a tweep if they fell over one.
I’m still convinced that social media and the Internet are essential as a tool for commerce and for doing good. But it does surprise me how few true believers there are out there. The numbers look big, but social media is still an * for most people.