I attended an event on Tuesday night with Jared Spool, hosted by ZAAZ and Vitamin T. Jared spoke about mobile user experience, and although I’m not a digital designer, app designer, or UX designer - I dug it.

Spool illustrated, literally, the importance of creating a user “experience” vs. user “activity”, and how companies who focus on experiences tend to stand out in the crowd. He demonstrated this with amusement park maps of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Disney’s Magic Kingdom — Six Flags’ map represented activity and Disney’s map represented an experience (as shown in the map samples below). You can read more about this analogy here.

This got me thinking about social media (go figure) and the importance of brands developing an overall social media strategy focused on providing an audience experience. We, as users, participate in online activities with brands — Tweeting, Facebooking, Pinning, reading blogs, et al. (the Magic Mountain vacation). But how impactful is engagement between brands and audiences whose activities feed into a larger, overall experience (the Disney vacation)? I'm sure you've seen the difference.

What brands are you paying attention to that have created a social experience online? How is this experience different from what brands who just focus on activities are doing? Does the experience cause you do engage on a deeper level? How does it affect how you feel about the brand?