The Post Social Media Revolution Era Begins?

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It’s 2011, social media is not new, and for all intents and purposes, there are no new form factors, just better versions. Innovation in the space revolves around better form factors and features. This can be likened to innovation in established sectors, like better DSLR cameras for consumers. Point being, we’ve entered the post social media revolution era.

This is the era when the dust settles. It’s the time when consolidation occurs, and best practices are refined.

Traditional media companies and new competitors are entering through acquisition or innovation upon the old forms of social media. Social media experts seem a little tired, rehashing the same lessons within the “new” innovations.

Consider that the greatest innovations and progress this year in U.S. social media have come from Google+, Spotify and Instagram (hat tip: Allyson Kapin). None of these are truly new form factors. They play off of and better predecessors like Facebook, Napster and Camera+. That’s not to belittle the innovation that these tools have brought to the market.

But there are no new form factors, and no major revelations about the conversation anymore. People are still people. And many of them young and old have experimented with social media. Your grandma uses Facebook now (1/3 of 50-64 year olds now use social networks).

Social media has grown up. It may not grow much bigger. Growth rates are now in the single digits year over year within the U.S. adult population. Conversational media is now finding itself in a bit of a routine.

And the revolution? Well, let’s pull-up an arm chair instead. That MacBook can get a little heavy after a while.

What do you think about the state of social media innovation?

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  • http://twitter.com/RonanKeane Ronan Keane

    Calling it a revolution implies that the “new” or the start of social media has to end at some point. We should start replacing the word revolution with the word evolution. I think we’re all agreed that we’re now transitioning into the next step, which may be a lull. Technology and our imagination will move us out of the lull and on to the next step of the evolution. 

  • http://twitter.com/RonanKeane Ronan Keane

    Geoff,

    Calling it a revolution implies that the “new” or the “start” of social media has to end at some point, which to your point I think it has. We should start replacing the word revolution with the word evolution. I think we’re all agreed that we’re now transitioning into the next step, which may be a lull. However, technology and new/more needs will move us out of the lull and on to the next step of the evolution. 

    • http://dr1665.com Brian Driggs

      While I would agree with Ronan’s suggestion social media is now more an evolutionary than revolutionary concept, two unpleasant themes remain too pervasive for my liking, leading me to believe we might be due another revolution before too long.

      First, I firmly believe social media has grown exponentially as a function of individuals viewing it as a means to obtain a voice in society. Where once business controlled the message, now individuals can speak up, organize, and affect change on their terms. To see some companies pursue the wholesale conversion of these voices back into numbers for marketing purposes (here’s looking at you, Klout) is pretty much the antithesis of what I feel social media is all about.

      Second, for all that’s changed, still so very much hasn’t. See the digital media vultures, circling overhead, picking the last remnants of flesh from the bones of once great print outlets. Their cackles at the shortcomings of legacy media’s build-an-audience, monetize-it-with-advertising business plans made all the more ironic by their doing the very same thing, digitally.

      What’s more, I can’t help but see businesses “innovating” by incrementally improving on what the competition does until such time one has sufficient cash on hand to buy-out the other, reducing competition while simultaneously increasing the cost of entry to the market. Rather than reboot institutions with long term sustainability and authentic benefit in mind, we see, time and again, myopic attempts to maintain the status quo, to get it anyway you can, at whatever cost.

      Social media has been called “The Great Equalizer.” Man, I sure hope so.

      • Anonymous

        People are still people. I think social has done a fantastic job of showing us who we are, rather than equalizing the playing field. There have been moments of equalization, but they have been few and far between.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. We have to digest what we have created so to speak. It’s kind of like being in the 60s with TV ;)

  • Anonymous

    Hey Geoff,

    Great thoughts and in response to the question posed, I would say innovation is occurring a bit too fast in many different areas. What it’s doing is creating a mass of clutter where the dust you refer to may not just settle, but may turn into a volcanic ash storm. Too much in too short a time is occurring, making it difficult to grasp the tools and ways to integrate these in our daily lives and for our clients. 

    I think this is because we’re so entrenched in social media and the “idea” of it that everyone’s trying to come up with the next best tool, building off of Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, etc. 

    It’s important that we focus on the tools that will make the greatest impact on our clients and businesses we represent, while taking our time in learning and integrating new tools and platforms into our campaigns. 

    In the end, I’m certain that we’ve been caught up in the nexus of the social media realm and I can attest to feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, especially when trying  to balance traditional PR, marketing, advertising, etc. in my position. 

    I hope others respond with their comments on this “revolution” and “pull-up an arm chair” to discuss how this affects us all and how to proceed.

    Thanks for the post Geoff.

    Best,
    Ralph J. Davila, APR
    http://atonofbricks.wordpress.com

    • Anonymous

      Ah, Shiny Object syndrome. I look at Google+ as the great example of this. Much hype, great to see it, but is it really that different, revolutionary in nature? No, it’s really yet another social network with some different ways of interacting.

  • http://whatsnextblog.com BL Ochman

    I think social media innovation is far from over. There are always new tools, and some will gain more traction than others.

    What i’m concentrating on is the Semantic Web and gamification of community platforms, as well as content curation tools to help me and my clients make sense of all the information that comes at us from all directions.

    Check out Scoopt, Yahoo Pipes, hakia.com, for example.
    p.s. Thanks for pointing to my What’s Next Blog post Geoff.

    • Anonymous

      I kind of see the semantic web as a next generation thing as opposed to social.  So for me that’s a definition thing, but I do agree that is innovative and advancing rapidly with things like semantic search.  Thank you!

  • http://www.b2bbloggers.com Jeremy Victor

    Great question … I think I agree with you. Consolidation is already beginning. 

    • Anonymous

      Yes, it is and more to come, I am sure!

  • Annacolibri

    As a newbie to the social media revolution I am glad I skipped the first part of it and can go straight to the consolidation phase. There will be a learning curve for me but I may be able to get “straighter” to business thanks to those of you who have paved the way.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a kind thing to say.  I imagine there is less to figure out and clearer direction.  I hope you make the most of it!

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