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This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Keeping Social Media Real -- This morning my feed reader served up a piece from Inside Facebook on established, but quickly spreading Facebook apps. The part of it that made me simultaneously smile and shake my head was a comment, in "emperor's new clothes" fashion, pointing out that the top movers in the list were essentially useless diversions.

It reminded me of another piece I had set aside earlier this week as potential blogfodder. Scott Berkun, in this piece - Calling bullshit on social media - brings some common sense contrarian commentary to the commotion and consternation* surrounding social media...
For starters: social media is a stupid term. Is there any anti-social media out there? Of course not. All media, by definition, is social in some way. The term interactive media, a more accurate term for whatís going on, lived out its own rise / hype / boom cycle years ago and was smartly ignored this time around - first rule of PR is never re-use a dead buzzword, even if all that you have left are stupid ones. Iíve been involved in many stupid terms, from push-technology to parental-controls, so I should know when I see one.
But he goes beyond the buzziness of the words, and digs deeper on a few often overlooked points and advice to further his case...
  • We have always had social networks...

  • There has always been word of mouth, back-channel, "authentic" media tools...

  • The new media does not necessarily destroy the old...

  • Social media consultants writing about social media have inherent biases...

  • Signal to Noise is always the problem...

  • All technologies cut both ways and social media will be no different...

  • Be suspicious of technologies claimed to change the world...

  • Always ask "What problem am I trying to solve?" The smartest thing to do with something new is to ask what is it you need it to do for you. Recognize good marketing will not make up for bad products or incompetent services...
  • As usual, the "..." in my snips indicate that there is a lot more good detail to read at the original piece.

    And, of course, I'm passing this on not to denigrate the creative work in and application of these growing channels. But they are just channels, parts of the whole media/communication landscape. Those of us who work in them tend to get all hot and bothered about the possibilities, but we also run the risk of enabling clients' excitement about sometimes questionable applications. So we do need the occasional slap across the face by a piece like Burken's to keep us rooted in reality.


    * Sorry about that. Every once in awhile I fall off the wagon and back into my alliteration addiction.

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