Forrester’s Josh Bernoff: Who “Owns” Social Media Question A Lot Like Who “Owns” the Internet

PRNewser caught up with Forrester Research SVP of Idea Development and Groundswell author Josh Bernoff after his keynote at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Social Media Marketplace event today in New York.

One of the pressing industry issues that we wanted to get his take on is the continued debate as to who “owns” social media? Ad agencies? PR? Interactive shops? All of the above? Is the question even relevant?

Bernoff said the debate reminds him of, “conversations from 1996 about who owns the Internet,” he said. “If you look now, if you ask the question, ‘Who owns the Internet?’ everybody has a piece of it, whether it’s the infrastructure, or marketing or advertising and I think it’s the same thing here. These applications are being put together by support people, they’re being put together by PR people, they’re being put together within the context of advertising campaigns and long term branding and as a result I have seen interactive agencies, traditional ad agencies, internal groups all owning pieces of this, and that sort of diversity is not a problem it’s the sign of an early market. Whoever is passionate about it, that’s who owns it.”

In regards to Forrester’s own social media marketing tactics, Bernoff said those at the company, “certainly do eat our own dog food.” He cited the fact that all analysts “participate in blogs” and mentioned his popular Groundswell blog. “We also have a lot of people who are Twittering,” he said, noting his colleage Jeremiah Owyang, with over thirty thousand Twitter followers “is a nut” when it comes to Twitter. “We certainly recognize the fact that are customers are interested in talking to each other and in having conversations with us and we try and make that as easy as possible,” he said.

Bernoff said of companies looking to kick-start their involvement in social media: “It’s much more important to get started than to be planning for six months.”