Archive for May, 2008

What will be social media’s tipping point?

Malcom Gladwell defines a tipping point as a sociological term, “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. Tipping points are “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Joe Marchese said back in October that:

 As advertisers and agencies rely ever increasingly on individuals to pass along their marketing message, the advertising and marketing messages themselves must now achieve their own tipping points within the social media communities in order for marketing and advertising to continue to be an effective tool for brand advertisers.

Ok I get that. Perhaps advertisers and marketers have reached the tipping point in regards to how they are reaching the users of social networks, but ultimately I think they haven’t reached that point. I think the conversations that abound right now are of a substance that says, this is the conversation, do you know how to join it? Do you know how to leverage it? Are you aware of how it works? Do you get that the conversation does not start with your brand, it starts with the people that dig your brand?

As a marketer, you need to listen before you speak.

The answer for me is that no, marketers, and branders do not completely “Get it”. Thus the need for the social media evangelists, the brand evangelists, and the Seth Godins of the world to dumb it down for us and for them.  Why do they have to dumb it down? Because we, they, us, just cannot completely wrap our hands, our arms, our minds, arounud the monolithic beast that is the social networking phenomenon. There are a lot of moving parts. And I find myself daily explaining “it” to n00bs and people who actually know more than they let on.

For a marketer using social newtorks, a tipping point could be construed as a viral effect or a WOMM effect in which they can virtually sit back and watch the machine roll. To them, it means they have done their job, or so they think. To truly engage the user and the customer to use them as their champions is to create a conversation that breeds success beyond their wildest dreams. Because they have created buy-in on an exponential level.

Problem is, it has not happened often enough. And though it can be duplicated, and replicated, the moving parts, the variables, and the uncertainty of a social networks eco-system dictate that it will change and evolve and be ruled by the members and factors that you can never account for and not the marketers. But what happens AFTER a tipping point for a marketer in a social network setting? What is the life expectancy of the product, the user, the marketer, and the network? Can anyone provide me a case study for the “aftermath” of a tipping point for the aformentioned in a social network setting?

Has it happened yet? I doubt it. What’s intriguing is that in Geoff Livingston’s   blog in which he has a weekly round up called Blogs of fire, author Marinel Mones linked to Nick O’Neill of Social Times in which he states that social networking sites will die in two years. Does that mean SN’s will have flamed out, reached their tipping points and then crash and burned? Do we just move on? I dare to say we don’t and that saying something as ambitious as SN’s will die in 2 years is more of an attempt to grab some eyeballs than anything else. What do you think? I believe I asked a number of people in the 20 million strong soon to be dead  in 2 years Linkedin network where they thought social media and networks would be in 5 years and the answers were varied and deep and thoughtfull and none approached the answer of Nick O’Neill.

Do I think Social Networks will approach some type of tipping point? Yes, we will reach  some type of saturation point, but I don’t think we have yet, much to the consternation of Daniel Riveong, but much has changed in the 2 years since he wrote that it had already started to happen.

The saturation point might just be a case or situation where out personal saturation point will be determined by what we can manage and not neccessarily a case of too many choices. But…invariably our choices are determined by our friends, our niches, our desires, and huh? Marketers? and so it has now come full circle…

In conclusion I pull an excerpt from the NY Times in which Duncan Watts writes about culture, Hollywood and Justin Timberlake. Check out the sublte social networking undertone to this statement.

The common-sense view, however, makes a big assumption: that when people make decisions about what they like, they do so independently of one another. But people almost never make decisions independently — in part because the world abounds with so many choices that we have little hope of ever finding what we want on our own; in part because we are never really sure what we want anyway; and in part because what we often want is not so much to experience the “best” of everything as it is to experience the same things as other people and thereby also experience the benefits of sharing.

So 2 questions that I will continue to explore:

What is social medias tipping point?


What is our own personal saturation level for social media?



4 More Social Media Luminaries

First I wanted to thank some of the gracious people who got back to me in regards to my post about 30 social media experts, evangelists and pundits. It was a fun list to compile and did not really expect to hear from some, and am surprised I did not hear from others. So much for the conversation? too busy? traveling? 3 day weekend? Nevertheless I want to thank Chris Brogan, B.L Ochman, Valeria Maltoni, Phil Gomes and Toby Bloomberg, Their responses to this post were more than gracious and reinforces why I read their blogs on a regular basis.

Sure, I know I should be bashing twitter right now, but Chris is all over it like a cheap suit, and there’s nothing I can think of thats going to change it except to say that Twitter is effin up in a big way. Maybe IT IS time to go over to Friend Feed? Actually I have, I just don’t use it as much…yet.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, One of our Top 30, who rocks the effin house, has graciously provided me with 4 more peeps/peers that we can add to the list. Here they are, and I must admit, they were great additions to this list.

Geoff Livingston
Rajesh Lalwani
Jeneane Sessum
Paul Chaney

I’m still open to add to this list as it might be a pretty cool list to maybe work up to 50. or maybe this is it? Maybe the conversation only consists of 34? You tell me.





John Challis meet Adrian Sudbury

Why is it that some of the bravest people in this world are the ones who have such little time left? John Challis I would like to introduce you to Adrian Sudbury. BTW Adrians blog has been so popular and such an inspiration that it won an award back in November.

Monetizing Social Networks. The simplest analogy possible!

Aside from the big players in social media making money via advertisers and cutting deals with some of technologies biggest hitters, there are more social sites that do not make money then there are those that do. What do they do? How are they going to make money?

Obviously one of the ways to create a social networking site that actually makes money is to niche-ify it to the extent that is speaks to a specific type of brand user and all the products or services that can be wrapped around the user. Picture the hot dog . Thats right, you are the hot dog. Your social network, the hot dog. You are going to be interested in all things related to you. 

Now the hot dog has the bun, the ketchup, the mustard, the relish,and the onions. All viable participants in the network. Including our friends chil and cheese. Couple with that will be napkins,  something cold to drink and perhaps to go with the hot dog, a side of chips.

All of these mentioned make perfect sense. They are viable, channel driven, niche driven, complimentary, cross promotional products that speak to the center of the social network universe known as is…the hot dog,

The problems arise when something that is totally irrelevant tries to crash the party. And interestingly enough, you would be surprised how often the following happens:

The best example of a lot of people trying to crash the party is perhaps the frenzy that is Myspace and Facebook. The frenzy of advertisers wanting to take advantage of million and millions of customers waiting(or are they?) to be pitched. Problems can arise from people who try and crash a party that they’re not invited to. Some great examples can be found in Jeremiah Owyangs post on brands that got punked by social media

As an advertiser, one just needs to know and it’s not like it’s that difficult. Are you the windshield, are you the bug? Are you the louisville slugger, are you the ball? Are you the hot dog? are you the bun? Or are you window cleaner that is the upsell to a box of triscuits?

10 Green Social Networks

Just because we’re in tech doesn’t mean that we can’t do our part to try and push for a greener space. Here is a great post on 10 green social networks that you need to know about.,


I saw this Addictomatic on Rohit Bhargava’s blog and it’s pretty cool..Dare I say, it’s addicting? Thanks Rohit for sharing. Great interface btw…

30 Top Social Media Experts, Pundits, Evangelists and Marketers

If I spent all my time reading their blogs, there would not be enough time to do anything else. So I want to ask everyone out there,  Who else should be on the list?. By compiling the list, maybe it will help others narrow down the search, increase the conversation, hone in on what they are interested in and reduce the amount of time it takes to read their prose.

This is by no means an exact list but it’s certainly a WIP. I need everyone’s help in compiling this though!

There is no order. <—–truer words have never been spoken?

Christopher Carfi

JD Lasica

Brian Solis

Phil Gomes

Nathan Gilliatt

Lena West

Linda Zimmer

Sally Falkow

John Hingley

Peter Shankman

Charlene Li

Jeremiah Owyang

Shel Israel

Robert Scoble

Rohit Bhargava

Chris Brogan

Mack Collier

Scott Monty

Christina Kerley

Mike Sansone

Toby Bloomberg

B.L. Ochman

Greg Verdino

Mitch Joel

Josh Bernoff

Jackie Huba

Ben McConnell

Valeria Maltoni

David Armano

* Seth Godin

*Jason Breed


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.


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May 2008
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