Social VS Societal: Which is Which?

Social VS Societal

I write this post not to give answers, but rather, to ask necessary questions.  This is borne out of the simultaneous growth of two revolutionizing ideas:

Social Entrepreneurship and Digital Entrepreneurship.

As a student of business, one will encounter jargon that may be confusing at times.  Just a test, try defining these terms:

Social Entrepreneurship.

Social Marketing.

Social Business.

Social Media Marketing.

If one tries to find definitions to these terms, then they will know if one truly does his research that there seems to be… different answers.  To better illustrate, I would like to zone in on one particular word: SOCIAL.

Earlier, the term “social” referred to mostly anything to do with society.  For example, a generally accepted definition of social entrepreneurship is using business principles in solving society’s problems.  As the marketing guru Philip Kotler expounded on, social marketing is then using the principles of marketing to positively change behavior.  This spectrum may be summarized as the societal point of view.

However, the dawn of social media, blogs, and the Internet gave birth to a new meaning of being social – being connected to society.  Go to your favorite bookstores and you will see books with titles such as “Social Business”, “Social Marketing”, etc., which are entirely different from Kotler’s definition and how he uses the word social.

This raises a very important question: shouldn’t there be a clearing up of jargon?  If left unchecked, there may be miscommunication and unfortunate repercussions in the business and education sector.

Should we use different, more precise terms such as “societal marketing”, “societal entrepreneurship” – replacing the vague “social” with the term “societal”?

Or should we accept that there can be two uses for technical jargon?  The problem with this lies in advancing research and further studies.  This affects communication and even searching, for people might find the wrong information they need.

Some have equated Internet with instant information.  But information not organized is as destructive as a lethal weapon, for it destroys and misleads the thinking mind – hampering possible exponential growth in research and communications.

 

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