Some people like to refer to social media as ‘another channel’, which I think is misleading.
I’m reading a book by Andrew McAfee on Enterprise 2.0, and he refers to email, phone texting and some types of instant messaging as channels, as they essentially keep communications private. Information sent via channels, in this context, is not widely visible or searchable.
The alternative to a channel, McAfee says, is what he calls a platform. He argues that platforms are simply collections of digital content where contributions are globally visible and persistent. Although he adds that platforms can be restricted to an R&D team, for example. He goes on to explain that every web site, intranet, extranet – and the internet itself – are all platforms.
This, I think, helps to clarifying thinking, and supports the view that increasingly the internet is becoming the new platform for the economy and for companies, as it becames ever more pervasive in our physical lives.