You hear and read it everywhere: Social Media is overhyped. Social Media experts will soon be applying for jobs at Burger King. In the end, the bubble will burst and Social Media will be Second Life 2. Or Zune 3.
Even in the Social Media echo chamber, we can feel the skepticism and defeatism when discussing the future of Social Media. The big agencies and brand will take over and ruin everything. Again. (Cue the Kleenex box.) Brands don’t get it. (Fist against the wall.) Money ruins everything. (Head against the wall.)
And we thought Social Media would change the world.
Let me burst the first bubble: Social Media won’t change the world. Stop drinking that Kool-Aid, it’s not good for you. Technology has changed everything: Transforming people from consumers to producers. Changed human behavior. Redefining human relationships. Transforming how we live. Transforming companies how they do business. Transforming institutions. Changing everything.
Social Media is just one expression of that change. Nothing else. It’s more than another channel to broadcast your messages. But it’s not the messiah that will miraculously change the world.
We wanted to change the world and all we got was Lolcats.
The essence of human beings didn’t change because we have new technologies. Silliness is just another expression of human creativity. But we see people helping each other by using these technologies. On a small scale. On a big scale. I can send my kid every night a good night story while 7,000 miles away and share a video of my experiences in Tokyo with my wife, feeling a connection to my girls. I can meet the woman of my dreams online. I can have meaningful discussions with people all over the world without ever meeting them. Or finally meeting them. And that’s the just bottom of the first inning of a long game. I would argue, this is the bottom of the first inning of a Best of 7 World Series. Soon, you’ll be able to own your own data, share it on your own terms, issue personal RFP’s and revolutionize everything: healthcare, politics, marketing, enterprises – you name it. And that might be bottom of the second inning. Who knows what will happen in Game 7, bottom of the 9th?
So, let’s burst the bubble of the Social bubble.
If you define social as Facebook pages, Twitter feeds or a fancy application: That bubble will burst. I totally agree with you. And you should be cheering for it. Most of these initiatives are just applying the old broadcast strategies, tactics and metrics to a new way of interacting with people.
Social isn’t a beauty contest, a chase to add your follower counts or another popularity contest. These are the LolCats of social. What social is really about is trust, connection and community. Social is about rewiring human beings, communities, societies, business and the world.
So stop whining, stop being afraid of the Twitter/Facebook bubble to burst. Just keep on moving foward. We’ve barely begun.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Clavin Coolidge