Tuesday, 1 March 2011

There is No "Social Media Revolution"! It's a "Communications Technology Revolution"!

Comment left on FastCompany.com in response to "Baked In: The VC Who Discovered Facebook on Why All Businesses Will Become Social -- Kevin Efrusy tells us why Facebook and Twitter are bringing about a 'fundamental disruption' in the way business is done on the Web."
By E.B. BOYD, Mon Feb 28, 2011

Excuse my acronym, Kevin and Allen, but WTF? I'm all for people jumping on bandwagons to make a buck, "going social" being today's most ballyhooed, but you're talking about two very different things here. There's a vast chasm of difference between Accel focusing on investing in firms that have found ways to leverage people talking about their products/services because they have a distinct point of difference and "all businesses becoming social"!

Over the past several years we have seen a rush of media spending being diverted from traditional above the line media like TV (for good reason in the latter case as 'eyes' have been moving to online programming consumption without a solid ad revenue model being developed as yet for online), to 'social' media WITH ZERO PROVEN ROI. Good for Curebit for trying to ride the wave, but as Uwe Hook has pointed out on MediaBizBloggers.com, humans are social creatures and always have been.

There is no 'social media revolution' happening! There is a "communications technology revolution" happening.

When Allen suggests some companies are "bad" he's merely pointing the finger at the dullards in the marketing world who can't fathom how to shift from "push" to "pull" strategies, or as Kevin points out, are selling products that no one wants to talk about and so are forced to try to inject interesting discussions about their boring products into conversations. Yes, they'll eventually either give up or will find niche areas where their product details have some relevance, but at the end of the day, guys, 'push marketing' is never going to completely die out, there are still going to be billboards on the roadsides and ad content injected into print publications that move onto tablets.

My point is that there is not and never has been and never will be any way to 'do social marketing' because any attempts to do so are merely attempt to manipulate conversations, just like interrupting a private phone call with an ad message. If you are talking, as Allen suggests, about finding new technological ways for people to willingly and happily share info about products they are trying and appreciating, then that all part of today's communications technology revolution, NOT a 'social media revolution' per se.

At the end of the day, however, we are not talking about "all businesses becoming social", we're talking about all marketing efforts becoming 'pull' based -- what I call "brand experience focused" and thinking about how to get people to talk willingly and happily about their product/service's distinct points of difference and weaning themselves off of 100 years of a 'push' based ad model. This ridiculous over-use (misuse) of the word 'social' is becoming tiresome and just a bit sad.

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