Awhile ago, now more that a year, I wrote a post entitled SEO is Dead. What people dont realize is I didnt write the post out of the anger that so many people accused me of, but out of the sadness of seeing an industry that I put so much time and effort, so much of myself in, as we built Current Wisdom, get horribly off track.
Now, I am watching social media catch the same horrible affliction and accelerate towards the same horrible end.
Its easy to blame the marketers. After all, marketers have a tendency to overdo it. Its quick to blame the brands, since companies often jump at the next big thing and put a lot of their resource against it. Its fashionable to blame the “social media expert,” but the internet has always been a dynamic gold rush where people follow the dollar regardless of the quality of their work.
What is killing social media, is that people are forgetting that its SOCIAL media, not social MEDIA. We put on our “personal brands” and head out into the world to make it safe for the brands we represent. We go to conferences where we meet the same people and talk about the same things, and fail to innovate. We put ourselves above the brands that we market and spend our time extending our influence. We worry what other social media professionals think about US rather than what our customers think about the BRANDS we represent.
Social media is dying.
Am I lambasting all social media professionals? Of course not. There are many, many social media professionals that do amazing things within the constructs they are given. They do awesome outreach with limited budgets and limited support. Some continually give back to the community through education and knowledge and most importantly, time.
But the vast majority of us are making it up as we go along, much like we did as SEO was growing. We look to the few that have an “inside track,” and emulate them, as if they are made men and the chosen ones. We forget that social media means making connections and collaborating with our communities and we spend our time being peacocks, and demanding our communities follow us.
Social media is dead.
I dont know if we can fix it. I dont know if social media will become like SEO, where its practiced by many, but perfected by few. Where the companies and agencies that win are the ones that understand that, for example, there is real benefit to making the kitchen a social place to help build the brand of their appliances, or that real communities are built on collaboration through transparency.
If you are a social media professional, I ask that you think about what value you are bringing the industry and the brands that you represent. Are you just outputing the same old crap, or are you finding new and interesting ways to create engagement? Are you sharing your failures and successes with the social media community? Do you collaborate with other professionals?
Im frustrated with the current state of social media. There are too many people not realizing the damage they are causing the industry. There are too many people that have put the immediate dollar ahead of the long-term benefit of our industry. It will end up that a few agencies and people will dominate the landscape and the majority of social media professionals will go off and do whatever the next big thing is. We will look at the social media industry much like the SEO industry is now viewed, as something that has been riddled and defiled by fortune hunters, rather than the marketing/PR revolution is it.
Social media is dead. And that just sucks.
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