Blah, social media’s over rated

Posted: October 22, 2009 in social media
Tags: , , ,

“Personalizemedia shows us how active & dynamic the Social Web is.”

Wait… what?  There’s people out there actually doing stuff?  And this is different from how the world used to work… how?

Sorry Personalizemedia, this is not an attack on you.  I like that you can provide us with information on human behaviour online.  This is a post, though, in response to all of the information out there that keeps talking about how great the social web is (which I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of doing a lot of to date).  FYI – the “social web” isn’t that great.  It’s just a bunch of  computers and wires and servers and websites and photos and data and other things all mashed together.  Ie… it’s still the web.  The same web we knew.  And it’s still just a way to transmit information.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook really aren’t all that spectacular once you’ve been on them for awhile.  They’re handy.  They’re useful.  But they’re nothing more than websites.  Websites with information on them that I connect to the same way I used to connect to websites.  Through the internet.

No.  Social media isn’t all that phenomenal.  At least not in the way most people think of social media.  They think of it in terms of the tools.  Of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Myspace… Again…  They’re all just websites.  They’re websites that would have no value at all if people didn’t post information to them.  But do you know what IS pretty phenomenal?  The way the world is changing AS A RESULT of what people are doing with online social networks.  The different, innovative, creative ways people are coming up with to raise money for a local charity, the causes and initiatives people are passionate about creating change around, finding new opportunities and new business ideas… from internet security to design to local community gardens to products.  The social web is becoming more active and more interesting because more people are doing more cool things.

I must admit, this post is driven by a comment on my FB wall that may or may not actually have been intended as a shot to social media as a profession.  But it’s stirred something inside of me.  At first my back raised at the undertone of distaste for social media that I read in the comment…. the same way it does whenever I hear somebody groan about social media.  But after a bit of thought, you know what?  I’m tired of hearing about the same things too.  I don’t need to hear about how great Twitter is.  Because it isn’t actually all that great.  And I already know that it can create opportunity and value.  And I’m guessing the early groaners already know this too.

That’s where it’s nice to have events coming through town like the Social Media Innovation Summit.  I’m tired of social media cheerleaders and I actually want to know how others think of it in terms of their business strategies.  There is only so much watching and listening and reading a person can do before they need an injection of innovation and strategy to further push their ideas forward.  So, I hope that this is the first of a new wave of information sharing.  The next level to social media is no longer about the hype.  It’s about how it can actually be effective.  Let’s get over our excitement and our fear of having people know what’s going on so quickly, get our hands dirty and actually do something.  Less talk.  More action.  Time to see if this stuff can really do what everyone keeps saying it can do… actually… I’m calling myself out here too.  I’m making it about the tools again.  Let’s see if I/we can do what we say we can do.

  1. John Tyler says:

    “Retail Store + “SEO model” + Call Centre = method of advertising through Twitter and other social media.”

    I totally agree! Twitter is great for what it does now- communication. networking, sharing, keeping up with friends. But it has not reached it’s full potential yet!!

    The above formula is ‘one’ of my ideas:

    in retail stores, the producers buy shelf space to display their products to the customers. The more shelf space, the more visibility, the more likely the consumer will purchase that product.

    What if we take out the physical store location, and take out the online store, and replace it with a Twitter front. People can now request items, compare products, find reviews and possibly even pay through one medium.

    Advertising would come via the store. A producer would pay more to make products more visible in the results of the consumer requests. Similar to SEO.

    The call centre could be more for back-up purposes or be a part of the purchase transaction.

    Some major benefits to this kind of model would be:

    -possible 24/7 operation
    -smaller physical footprint- instead of stocking a store you’d have a deliver/pickup centre
    -save trees and money by not printing sales fliers and signs anymore (most of the time they are thrown out or recycled immediately anyways)
    -you can ‘shop’ from anywhere you have access to Twitter.

    I think this would probably work better for grocery stores since most people don’t really enjoy getting groceries, but it would be hard to replace a mall.

    This idea still needs a lot of refinement, but as usual Wendy, your blog post got me really thinking 🙂

  2. Wendy Peters says:

    Happy to keep those wheels turning. Your comment, in turn, provides me with more insight as well.

    Your idea of the customers requesting a product rather than having the product stocked seems a bit of a return to the old days when the customer would come up to the counter in the general store and ask the shop keeper for a product by name. The way to sell products was to first educate your consumers on what your product was, then when they would ask for it at the store, the shop keeper would in turn stock the item.

    This could definitely use more exploration… good thoughts John.

  3. John Tyler says:

    Thanks! 🙂

    That’s a good point as well- maybe instead of trying to integrate social media into our current models of PR, marketing, and communication- we can break it down to it’s simplest form, and use older models that are mostly lost and forgotten. Kind of start from scratch and build a completely new model!!

  4. Wendy Peters says:

    Many great designs work when they integrate something very old with something very new (and something borrowed with something blue? ha!). Why not a new business model?

  5. John Tyler says:

    Lol very nice! Blue is my favorite color too!!

    Yes, that is what i’m working on 🙂 I have a couple more interesting ideas i’d love to share with you!!

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