I was watching highlights of a Miami Heat game the other night and after every major replay of the game you could hear the shrill cackle of a woman cheering in the background. You know how some things can gnaw at you pretty quickly for no apparent reason? Well, her cackle got to me pretty quick. Other things that gnaw at me but at a more “come to a boil type” nature, are the current and future states of social media. It gnaws at me. I’m constantly wondering where we are with it and where are we going with it. I also have some notions about where it will sit in our digital universe going forward too.
Like it or not, the conversations are NOT solely about social media any longer and I’m cool with that. You should be too. There was a time not too long ago where it seemed like every conversation and every blogpost was about social media, both the good and the bad. Hell, I even got tired of my own stuff that I used to write about social media. In fact back in the day, there came a time where there wasn’t a social media consultant or thought leader out there who wasn’t talking about Zappos, or Comcastcares, or Ford or Starbucks or Dell. It was part of the spiel. It got old. At least to me it did. What about you?
On the flip side, those same consultants, myself included, were also out there touting that if you were not listening to your customer via social then it was a big FAIL. Those also were the same people, myself not included, who took to their pitchforks and torches to light up any company who slipped up with any type of ambitious forays into the great unknown called social media marketing. Even if it was an honest mistake.
But something has happened. No, social isn’t dead, not by a long shot. In fact there might be more “social media consultants” now than ever before. Beyond that, what social is doing is it’s maturing. Social media is growing up. Yes there are still lots of nuances to be learnt and still lots of totally unqualified people screwing things up, but that’s in every industry right? The difference between five years ago when I first started and now is that there are more and more qualified people out there who are able to make educated and qualified and experienced decisions on what to do with social media initiatives. And the results speak for themselves.
That’s not to say that we’ve reached social media nirvana or the promised land, hell we’re not even close to that- It’s just that there are a few less unknowns these days then there was before say…last week. 🙂
So if social media is not the lead in the school play any longer, then what is, you ask? What has everyone all fired up and in a tizzy?
It might be easy to say and look to Facebook, but beyond the fact that they are still recovering from getting it handed to them during their IPO and though they are closing in on almost a billion registered users, there is no doubt that a wave of Facebook fatigue could be coming soon with an undertow of blowback from incessant sharing. So if it isn’t Facebook, what is it then?
Mobile and Tablet computing. The data proves it out and so do retailers, consumers and manufacturers. They are experiencing it first hand. If you haven’t noticed, the desktop is dead. Dell in so many words has admitted it and Microsoft with its rollout of its own tablet to compete directly with Apple has validated it. We love portability. We still love social but what you’ll be seeing sooner than later is a longing for the days of the niche and not the melting pot of our high school, our college and our work friends all rolled into one.
As we hurdle into 2013 and beyond, watch for the mashup of mobile and social to escalate even more, with mobile leading the way. It’s no longer about the platform, it’s now about the device and the (computing) and conversational power it will possess and it’s about getting that device into your hands.