Social Media – Shark Jumping?

Shark Attack
Shark Attack

One of the outcomes of my testing of Twitter lately is that I’ve come to question whether or not Social Media has jumped the shark (props t David Churbuck who tweeted on social media jumping the shark this morning – I initially left the attribution out to save the fall out, but since he linked, no need to save him…)

What I am finding is that most of the people I am finding in my general circle on Twitter are social media types. That’s to say, folks that attend a lot of conferences, and have generally drank fully of the social media Kool-Aid. The thing that calls it all into question for me is the number of people who are generally ex-online marketing folks now using strange titles like “Social Media User Guru” or something equally ludicrous. It reminds me of a networking group I once attended that turned out to be a room full of sales people, each hoping to sell something, and none realizing there weren’t any real customers there.

Now I’m not certain that this isn’t a function of my very own profile (apparently in Twitter, like objects attract each other, while differing opinions repel with remarkable force). It could be that it’s become like a bad cocktail party with people that know each other standing in one corner, doing their best to ignore the other strange groups.

One thing I know for certain – when the consultants move in so heavily to a space, such as they have in social media (and believe me, there are tons of newly minted “social media consultants” out there), it denotes a fundamental change in the ecosystem.

So where to from here? I think we move on in the direction which I have always said social media should go. It’s not an end to an end, or even a standalone solution in my mind. This is simply good web design, online marketing practice or branding. Call it what you will, let’s just lose the Social Media moniker and take a more holistic viewpoint.

(For the record, I’ve been doing niche community work since 1996, was one of the first bloggers, and date back to the days of Compuserve accounts that came with user numbers, not usernames. I too have fully drank of the Kool Aid, but I’m not so ready to take my advice from those who haven’t been dancing the dance for more than a couple years.)

5 Replies to “Social Media – Shark Jumping?”

  1. Hi Mark:

    Nice post. I just got back from one of those conferences – and I do think there is a lot of kool-aid drinking.

    IMHO the biggest issue is companies thinking that this is something that an agency can solve for them. Brand owners are the ones that need to lean forward and get into the game – see Dell – if they want to prosper in this age of marketing disintermediation.

    It ain’t gonna be easy and nobody else can do it for you – but companies have to figure out how to connect with their customer/consumers/people on their own terms. They have to engage in relationships – not campaigns. I have some notes on that from the WOMMA-U event last week.

    http://tinyurl.com/545ved

    TO’B
    MotiveQuest LLC

  2. Right on the money Tom…

    I have had numerous customers over the past couple years ask about having a blog installed, put up a company myspace, etc. I ask “who’s gonna write/update it.” and they almost always suggest that I do it for them.

    The meetings would end quick from there…if they don’t own it, it won’t work.

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