1.10.2008

Note to You Social Media Gurus

I'm in a bad mood today. Anyone who claims to be the "real deal" social media consultant is, well, full of crap. I'm getting a little tired of the self-promoting social media masturbation that all of you self-proclaimed "early adopter" marketing types engage in (oh crap! I'm on Twitter too...). Listen, the space is too spanking new ...and guess what? All of your "best practices" are well, again, CRAP. I was listening in on a here undisclosed conference call which was supposedly to be about marketing and measuring 2.0 style the other day that was so ridiculously basic I had to drop off. As someone who is at once in the "social media marketing" game, and someone who remembers "the summer of Friendster," when MySpace was for bands, and TheFacebook I find it disconcerting that so many of you disregard the native behaviors and phsyco-social moores of my generation who, dare I say, are the very reason you are the
Social Media Marketing God that you are. I mean, aren't the majority of say, Digg users under the age of 16? 16! And why people like me or my friends joined social networks in the first place is for very different reasons than marketers joined. The way we use and how we interact with these applications (and our network of friends within) is very different than how late adopters have begun to use them. The introduction of brands to these networks is nothing new-- and instead of running our heads into circles about "best practices" and what major brand has "adopted social media" take a look at the success of early no names companies that "got" social media before, well, we called it "social media."

Social media is your opportunity, brands' opportunity, to ask. Not impose messaging. Listening. Fostering. Almost coddling. Authenticity.

I recently argued with my friend in advertising (sidenote: my college years = AdBusters + art + journalism + that thing called Friendster...you get the idea) about how advertising will need (needs) to adapt its behavior...its not about being the cool kid on the block telling everyone else what is awesomely cool-- with social media and our online lives, its about being the kid on the block who asks everyone how their day is going and what do you think of my new pants? You see? Perhaps not, but brands online ought to know who is king-- the user (ahem, yes, user, not consumer) because after all, the brand is just a visitor here. Did I mention authenticity?

So lets all just take a big, deep breath and remember we don't know as much as we think we do.

Indignant comments welcome.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Cheers that! I work at big consumer internet company and you'd be amazed at the fraction of people I work with who get Twitter, let alone use it. I imagine it's much worse at companies one or two degrees removed from ecosphere. I can't imagine what their conversations about these things look like. We (and I count myself here) tend to look for ways to exploit trends. It's HARD for a brand to figure out how to become part of the conversation without looking lame--especially a conversation in which the participants and way more tied into the vibe than the brand is. But I'm confident that it's doable. Much like today's companies are being built by a new generation of entrepreneurs who are innovating, I believe that tomorrow's marketing strategies are going to be built by a similar generation of marketers who develop creative and innovative ways of participating, rather than just talking at. We're not there yet, but hopefully we keep moving in the right direction.