A recent article in The Statesman dubbed Austin an emerging “hub for social media.” As an Austinite, I’m a little biased, but Facebook, Andy Sernovitz, and the Social Media Business Council seem to agree – Austin is certainly gaining clout in the social media space.

I wanted to hear all sides, so I posed the question on LinkedIn – which city is the “capital” of social media? I got a lot of great responses, but the answers left me with more questions.

What makes a city the “capital”?

Alicia Benjamin“…I guess you’d have to set the context around what makes a city the capital.”
Alicia Benjamin, Social Media Manager at MeYou Health (LinkedIn)
Daniel Alfon“You’d have as many capitals as definitions of social media.”
Daniel Alfon, trilingual online marketing specialist seeking a new challenge (website, Twitter)

Biggest SM user base? Most integration of social into daily life? Most Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare users per capita? A hub of social-centered startups? Is there even a rubric we can all agree on to evaluate this question?  Based on the varied definitions respondents seemed to create for “social media capital”, probably not.

Michael Perhaes“Las Vegas, of course. We enable the most social interactions- online and off. C’mon.”
Michael Perhaes, Assistant Vice President, Marketing, MGM Grand Hotel (LinkedIn, Twitter)
Barry Berkowitz“LA is the capital of social media. It’s the center of entertainment-oriented content, a seat of innovation, a denizen of app-crazy dining aficionados and ground-zero for a great deal of lifestyle-oriented communications.”
Barry Berkowitz, VP, Digital Mktg. Solutions @ infogroup Interactive (website, Twitter)
Todd Castor“San Francisco. Since it’s social media, it’s all about the people, and the Bay Area has literally thousands of very plugged-in people, most of whom work for extremely innovative organizations. Don’t just take my word for it…attend a conference or a Tweetup there and see for yourself!”
Todd Castor, Area Director, eCommerce at Marriott International (LinkedIn)
Christopher Lower“According to Chris Brogan, Pittsburgh is number one, based on the entire community and tribes crossing over to foster a cohesive community. If you judge by SXSW standards, Minneapolis is number one with the largest chapter in the world of the Social Media Breakfast groups, with Boston and San Francisco rounding out the top 3. Austin may host SXSW but that doesn’t mean that Social Media is practiced there more.”
Christopher Lower, Co-Owner Sterling Cross Communications (website, Twitter)

Can there be a capital at all? Should there be?

My favorite comment challenged the question altogether.

Matt McCoy“I thought the point of social media, the internet, crowdsourcing, cloud computing, et cetera was that there isn’t a capital?”
Matt McCoy, Online Strategy Manager at Volt (Twitter)

The fact that our answers come from all over the country and globe begs the question:  If social media is a borderless world, can there even be a single capital? Maybe there can be multiple capitals, or perhaps social media should never have a capital in the first place. After all, traditional capitals are nodes of centralized power and top-down governance, ideas that seem contrary to the ideas behind social media.

So you tell us: What’s the capital of social media? Can (and should) there be one at all?

LinkedInSee who you know at Bazaarvoice.

Connect with BV employees on LinkedIn, and participate in discussions like this one.

One Response to “Which city is the capital of social media?”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>