Friday, May 1, 2009

How Much More Than Enough Social Media Do We Need?

I just read Seth Godin’s great blog on “big enough is big enough.” I wanted to stand up and cheer! The tagline on my email says, “How much more than enough do we need?” a quote that reportedly emanated from Eldrige Cleaver, though I never could verify that.

Too big threatens to become a mainline weakness of the current social media (SM) stampede. On LinkedIn, I hooked into the “Innovative Marketing, PR, Sales, Word-of-Mouth & Buzz Innovators” group. This particular SM mash-up reportedly has 40,000 people participating. At first that seemed pregnant with possibility ... until I tried to post a query to the group. My question got in front of the 40,000 for about one minute before it drowned out in the next flood of questions, advertisements, hawkings, and job postings. Not that that's a bad thing. It just doesn't help me.

Yesterday, I read Jason Baer’s insightful blog on the Six Dangerous Fallacies of Social Media, Maybe social media gurus everywhere already knew this, but Jason Baer is the first person I've heard say it, so Jason gets the credit: “Social media is not about Facebook or MySpace or Flickr or Twitter or blogs or YouTube. It’s about having a strategy for making your company or organization more like a person and less like a machine. It’s about humanization."

The old marketing was reliant on “brand,” a vision of reality that embodied the “us and them” point of view -- static, stilted, inhuman "push marketing." Social media was born human, and the challenge now is to keep it human because this, too, can become a numbers game. For now, maybe we keep it a bit tribal and a bit small.

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