Filed under: Digital Strategy
I love a bit of fist shaking shoutyness.
I’m taking a week off and stepping down from my soapbox, but I’m happy to share and introduce you all to Peter Bray, who has been in the digital industry for around 13 years, is a Director of CHOICE (the Australian Consumers’ Association) and the NSW President of AIMIA (the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association):
I am starting to feel a bit numb about social media. I thought I knew what it was, and how to use it, but now I am confused. Really confused. More so than usual.
Recently there have been people redefining what social media is, defining rules of engagement, and generally trying to one up each other in a public display of ego driven “rankings.” Lists of top bloggers, top twitterers, top facebookers and top brands that use social media are deluging down my connection like an empirical tsunami. And a lot of people seem to be riding the wave, while others, like me, are simply feeling a little swamped.
When did it all get out of hand?
Please, please, to all the digerati out there, perhaps it is time for a bit of quiet, humble success rather than screaming from rooftops at every possible moment. It is a long way to fall, especially if you position yourself at the top of the ladder.
It all used to seem so fun, this whole social media caper. It just doesn’t feel the same any more. Social media is in danger of killing the digital star; metrics are undecided; pundits are confused with professionals; flaming is out of control – why is it that social media has all these growing pains?
Perhaps it is something to do with the personality types that are attracted to social media. Could social media provide a way for people who are otherwise socially inept to finally quantitatively prove that they understand relationships? Are the social media experts in fact introverts who are now, through the bright lights of their computer screens, able to tell people how they should behave? Is a pre qualification for being a social media expert the attainment of level 12 in Dungeons and Dragons (sorry for the out of date reference, but I don’t know the World of Warcraft equivalent?)
My point is (if I have one), that social media should not be positioned as the “next big thing” for brands, simply because not only has it already arrived, but the effectiveness when it comes to marketing is very questionable. Social media has some wonderful uses, however given then number of brands that have invested in social media, there is a striking lack of successful case studies when it comes to brand marketing.
We know social media is out there, we are just not sure how to identify and tag it, let alone breed it in captivity. So it seems that people are firing pot-shots, trying to define what social media is and the rules for engagement, instead of simply letting it run wild for the time being.
Social media needs a lot of time to develop and grow, since it is still in the awkward teenager phase. If we are not careful, by creating so many arbitrary rules and restrictions, social media will never mature and achieve its potential. People need to stop acting like overprotective parents. No one owns the social media space, no one is an expert above others, and such activity will inevitably stunt innovation and experimentation in the social media space. Anyone remember Second Life?
I advocate not enforcing any rules when it comes to social media, apart from one simple guideline, that applies not only to brands and consumers, but social media practitioners as well: TRY NOT TO DO DUMB THINGS, BECAUSE EVERYONE IS ALWAYS LOOKING.
Oh, and play nice.
Peter can be found on Twitter http://twitter.com/peterbray
I won’t be found in Sydney town until Ad-tech next week. I’m on the panel about social media measurement and I’m bringing my boxing gloves. See you there!
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