Excuse me. You Got Your Sustainable Social Graph in My Semantic Multi-Touchpoint Stream.

We’ve done it again.

We’ve buzz-worded, sliced-up, uber-flow-charted and algorithm-itized the ‘social network.’ In the process we’ve made it difficult, if not impossible, for big ad dollars to make an informed decision about how to engage.

And while we all understand that big advertisers are traditionally wary of the ‘new’ thing, as they should be, it’s not like we all haven’t all been here before. Don’t remember? Let me tell you about my ‘5 million uniques and their view-thru ratio.’ Dear God no.

Consider:

It’s 1995 and online is a babe in the woods. Agencies, then the sole gatekeepers to brand dollars, largely ignore online. And why not, technologists and engineers in the AOL-era are told to create proprietary environments. They build byzantine closed systems to control user behavior; the anti-broadcast network model. Brands investigating online see it as thousands of brochure silos, impossible to exploit widely.

Enter IAB, the Internet Advertising Bureau. A standard (and the banner) is born. Services that buy across the network spring-up and an industry gathers itself; agencies exhale, ad dollars flow. Life was good.

Fast forward a decade plus. Banners now get .0001 click-through. Agencies and media companies vie for budgets. Brands see millions of people ‘tweeting’ and ‘posting’ and want some concrete answers about how to wade into this stuff. So if it’s not the banner, what is it?

Sustainable social multi-touchpoint stream conversation infusion?

Probably not.

The social network answer is ultimately a question. Do you Mr. Brand, feel comfortable being part of a conversation; half of a two-way deal?  If yes, find a way that’s engaging and authentic to get in. And keep up. No set-and-forget.  And if this isn’t your cup of tea, maybe this whole social thing isn’t for you.

Not as easy as a banner, but with the right folks around, simple enough.

Now post this to your social graph.