There are two seemingly diametrical trends taking place right now: dark social and live everywhere.

This post looks at the first one.

Dark sharing was a term coined to describe the shares we can’t track — e-mailing an article to a friend, texting a URL, DMing a video link. They’re private shares. Unattributed by tweet counters and Facebook likes.

Dark social is a broader phenomenon. It encompasses dark sharing but describes a larger shift to the content behind the curtain. Take Snapchat, for example, whose whole approach is focused on gated conversations.

Mark Schaefer has a terrific post on this shift to private media. Go ahead, read it. I’ll wait.

Embrace the dark side.

Dark Moon (and Dark Social is here)

Brands have had it easy (okay, easy-ish) the last few years. It’s been easy to engage with your customers, clients, and prospects on social media. To track the conversations happening about you and your brand. To monitor the competition. To identify red flags and course correct. To build engaged audiences who share your content and create great content of their own around your brand.

It’s about to get a lot more challenging.

Dark social is going to force organizations to develop strategies to scale-up private conversations. It’s no accident that Facebook Messenger’s new chat bot approach is designed to do exactly that.

Cracking the code on dark social will be akin to figuring out how to get an invitation to a private party. How do you join these conversations?

I don’t have the answers — at least not yet. But I know we need to start thinking about this.

Dark social is the yin.

Yin Yang symbol

This shift to private media is likely a reaction to the challenge of having every aspect of your life public, recorded, analyzed, and preserved (to haunt you down the line).

It’s the yin to our livestreaming yang.

Next post I’ll talk more about live everywhere — what it means and the implications for you and your business.

PS: As a follow-up- to The Value of You, I penned a piece for Bulldog Reporter on IABC’s decision to ask for free content marketing — and what pro bono really means. See what you think, and join the conversation in the comments. 

Feature photo by Acarlos1000 (Flickr);  dark moon by Alexey Kijatov (Flickr); Yin Yang by Free Grunge Textures (Flickr).