Of Course There Is a Social Media Backlash Coming

December 23, 2008 by

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There is an interesting discussions among the early adopters last night into today on the topic of blogging and FriendFeed that has spilled out into the rest of “social media.”

Scoble kicked things off last night when he asked (on FriendFeed) if he had harmed his blog by investing so much time there.

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch gives perhaps the pithiest but most accurate response on that thread:

HELL YES YOU HARMED YOUR BLOG THIS YEAR.

So the question becomes, is there a backlash coming from the early adopter influencer crowd towards the rising tide of noise on platforms such as Twitter or FriendFeed or even Facebook? Sure, they are great for “conversaton” but does it do harm to contribute too much content there and not enough on your blog?

Steve Rubel chimes in with an interesting point:

Micro Persuasion: Andy Beal on Investing in Social Media Spaces: “Could a backlash be coming? Maybe if Twitter builds an ad revenue model and shares it with the audience they can stem the tide. Interesting notes about how Pownce is no longer with us and how some invested time there. The same could be said for Jaiku perhaps since Google has done nothing with it since they bought it.”

The answer is that there is no answer (how Zen of me).

Each case of social media usage vs blog usage is an intensely personal thing. Sure, there are marketers that see social media as “the next gold mine” (duh…talked some about that fallacy last year), but there are many of us that see these platforms for what they are… tools. They aren’t gold mines or “platforms to be leveraged.” They are communication tools. Sure, use them for data, trend watching, tracking, etc… but at the end of the day, know where you hang your hat.

Of course there is a social media backlash coming amongst the influencers, the tech savvy and the people that realize in a down economy you have to focus on what is most important to your company, your ideas or your “brand” (I’m beginning to loathe that term even more than I used to).

As Andy Beal points out, we “own” our blogs in the sense that we (unless we are using wordpress.com or Blogger, etc) write the content, pay for the hosting and are in charge of their upkeep. It’s great to play in the Twitter commons, but it’s nice to have a place to lay our heads when it gets dark. And the economy is dark now.

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  • Great points, Daniel.
    In my opinion, it's all about nuance. Marketers interested or experimenting
    with “social media” don't all seem to grasp the concept that these aren't
    direct ROI channels but augments and ratholes into something very
    transformative.

    What's really getting on my nerves lately are the “personal brand” guys/gals
    that are trying to build their molehills on top of their 5k followers. It
    just seems so silly and transient to me, and I think the “followers” are
    wising up to that sort of equity-mindset rather than real worth mindset.

  • I was thinking about my comparison of Twitter to a giant chat room after I brought it up in our Geek Dads @Home podcast yesterday, and reading this puts me in mind of what (in my opinion) killed my interest in things like it in the past… marketers. It sounds weird since I *am* a marketer, but I also believe that there's a time and a place for everything. I wonder what the response would be from someone like Joel Comm (who, due entirely to his marketing, manage to get a freakin' fart app to number one in the iTunes app store) if you asked him if it's kosher to come into a chat room and start blasting marketing messages. I mean, think back to when the AOL chat rooms were super popular… if you were in a Daddy Day Care chat room and someone came in and did nothing but blast marketing messages to the room, that person would get no respect and with any luck, would be kicked out of the room. Today though, that kind of practice is “acceptable” (to some people) on Twitter. I know, I know, we decide who to follow and who not to follow, so it's supposedly an opt-in sort of situation… but if I follow someone who primarily does personal updates and then that person starts pushing marketing messages exclusively… that's annoying, to say the least. I guess I just feel like people should have a Twitter account for personal updates and another for their pure marketing efforts. A little overlap is fine… I've pushed my Big Book of Spam from @danielmclark a few times even though I've got a separate @bigbookofspam Twitter account. But I try not to be obnoxious about it.

    To me, Twitter is a tool, like you said. It's not a gold mine or a source of income to me. It's good for brand building to an extent, but only to the extent that the people I interact with *already know me*. I don't need to market to my friends, I need to market to the masses. Blogs do that. Twitter doesn't.

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