Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Chasing the dragon that is social media

Social media…….social media…. I was reading Geoff Livingston’s latest post and he had a clip on there from Tech Cocktail in which he, David Armano, Frank Gruber and Danielle Wiley opened with a “what is social media” intro.. Which got me wondering, ranting, or just pondering first a) am I too close to the subject and b) c) d) e) and f) and g) are below…

This is what I wrote to Geoff..

Let’s talk about what social media is not. In fact, what if the term social media was banned from our lexicon, what would we call it then? Is it an accurate term to use? Have we trounced on it too much? Or is it still this mystical nirvana like state that marketers, advertisers, agencies, and corporations are all chasing? Are they chasing the dragon? Are we forcing them to chase the dragon? Is it elusive? Are we making it that way? Can we dumb it down? Does it need to be?


It’s not really a rant per se, more of just “lots more questions” from maybe a different point of view. Some might say that social media is merely the flavor of the moment for marketers and PR people. Uhh no, it’s where we are headed, and we can choose to integrate and embolden and implement or we can get steamrolled by the ones who decided to embrace it from the get-go.  Who is the person that said “a computer in every home will never happen, it just doesn’t make sense…” Who would like to step up and say, social media is nothing but another internet phase…a fancy web based app…go ahead and throw the first stone.

 Here’s a link to the Vid


What is our personal saturation level for social media?

Could there be a point down the road where we all just get burned out on whichever social network we are a part of? Doing a search on any posts that point to or mention social media saturation brings up very little, with the exception of the aformentioned link by Illuminea. With that being said, Jeff Nolan in his blog noted that We now log an average of 9.7 hours each day consuming media. Some experts say we’re at the saturation point. Interestingly enough, he mentioned that in August of 2007! One year removed almost, I would have to say that that number has definitely increased. There are close to 2000 social networks, its growing by the day, microblogging is coming on hard and our mobile devices are now like an extra appendage!

So 9.7 hous per day covers media in general, not neccessarily social media but all media.  Because there are so many forms of media that we as a public devour, I don’t think we’ll ever get to the point where we all sit around and toss in the towel and say, That’s it, I’m saturated. I’m done with my Ipod, my laptop, my cell phone and the television and movies. Hell,  we could get finite and include, newspapers, magazines, kindles, and tin cans with strings, but I digress.

You see, here’s the thing. Jude Yew talked about how managing 13,000 friends might get difficult, but when does it just become a pain in the ass to manage x amount of SNS’s (social networking sites) and x amount of profiles and x amount of friends. When does it cease to be fun? When does it cease to be about Networking for the benefit of your business?  Case in point, there’s a guy on LinkedIn and Ning for instance whom I won’t name who links and networks with whatever is moving. It smells like an MLM but my point is it’s no longer networking it’s something else. Perhaps its his way to build a database with the guise of “Linking” I don’t know. But if thats what happens or is happening then networking and linking to people all of a sudden become water downed.  As Yew further writes:

I think that this brings up an interesting issue with how poorly the PR/Marketing/advertising industry understands how Social Networking sites work. We’ve seen the large migration of teen users from sites like friendster and myspace to facebook in the past year. One of the oft cited reasons was that the teens were tired of being hounded, not just by fake profiles (which is also a PR/marketing type issue), but by advertisers.

At one point in time I used to have a MySpace account but after being hit up by every hooker like name that ever existed,i.e. Domino, Ashley, Sindy, and Nicole, I decided that I didn’t need “that” type of friend. So I bailed.  But, what if every SNS begins to buckle under the pressure of letting advertisers trying to link and network and make friends with its database of actual users?

2 things happen. Real actual users are going to leave in droves and real actual users are going to be wary of any subsequent social network they join. Amazingly enough, isn’t that what is occuring now? Everyone is a member of anywhere from 2 to 5 social networks? Why? Because one is bullshit or turned into just a jive network, whereas another delivers x but not Y. So we use them until more come along and we use them and we may or may not discard the old ones and before you know it, we’re saturated.

So now what? How do we manage our profiles and our memberships and keep it at a palatable level? Or even better, how many of you just abandon that profile or membership without deleting the information? I’d bet, depending on your age, that most of you don’t bother. The worlds advertisers thank you.

So what will happen to all things social network related when we do reach our saturation level? What is everyone’s personal saturation level? Let’s see if we can come up with some type of formula shall we? I’ve posed the question to some members of the Linkedin community, I will follow up with another post on those answers.


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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June 2008
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