• Geoff, I found myself nodding in agreement with every word of this post. How validating. 

    I, too, started blogging six years ago (for MarketingProfs) and have been contributing content since 2004. It feels like eons ago. So much has changed. You are 100% correct in saying, “Social media may be the new jack in town, but it’s not the ace, king, or queen, at least for a vast majority of companies.”Yet, I still find it challenging when I encounter organizations that believe social media is the panacea to their revenue generating problems. This is especially true in the nonprofit sector where many jumped on the bandwagon without an overall marketing strategy.What you call the karaoke culture, I call the “Sesame Street” phenomenon. The generations raised on Sesame Street changed their attention every 30-60 seconds as the program shifted from one segment to the next. What can we expect now? Stick-to-it-iveness? Congrats on your anniversary!

    •  LOL, glad to see I am not the only one who lost his rose colored glasses. It’s odd how time and experience changes your viewpoint.

  • Great post! I thank you for your honesty and for all of your posts. Your voice is one to be heard.

  • Great post Geoff. I find your insights here fascinating. To this day I remain intrigued by Cluetrain. I reference it regularly and find that many of our colleagues have never even heard of it – and I find that a shame.

    Like you I am also fascinated by the movement towards big data. It’s such a difficult think to get right. Time and time again I have seen companies ask the wrong questions, frame their hypotheses too broadly, use incorrect data to interpret trends that did not exist and more. One of my greatest concerns is people accepting as gospel poorly interpreted social data  – in this day and age a critical and skeptical eye is more important than ever.

    • I agree, Sean. Information or data literacy is a huge issue, and I hope our school systems evolve to meet it. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Interesting perspective after six years before the mast, so to speak. Your concerns sounded like a variation of the commercialization of Christmas. In this case, you seem to warn businesses to remember to keep the “social” in social business.

    •  Well, who knows, maybe it will pay off for them. In the end, that’s business, literally. It’s just less interesting to me as I see it as a bigger media form than that. But what do I know, eh?

  • I <3 Big Data. 

  • I dunno Geoff this Vermont living has rubbed off on me challenging number 6. I used to LOVE modern architecture. And city life. Now I live in a re-1900 home. My fiancee’s folks live in a home circa 1800 with the other properties on the development also pre-1900 (all the home were moved to be there). And I live on a dirt road…that I have to cross a covered bridge to get too. LOL

    The most astute part of this post is the commercialization of the social web. In 2009 I felt Facebook was a communication platform I would pay for if it would shun advertising. Many people feel they would never pay but I would of if it meant making it a very slick tool to keep up with friends and not having ads. I felt they could reinvest the revenues into this experience. They went with the exploitation/ad model and instead invested in the brand/marketing experience which is actually falling flat. And as you wrote with Jennifer recently in Forbes this IPO is the culmination of this bubble of wrong focus. But I observed when i got into advertising that agencies will find a way to exploit everything with advertising/marketing. Very sad.

    Oh and on that note of facebook’s biz model and why they should of gone with a paid service? I use firefox and block their ads! So they make zero on me.

    •  It really breaks my heart still to think about a medium that has so much promise that has been turned into a spamming adventure.  But you get what you pay for as you noted, and we are now suffering through the popular and the commercialized. See, I would have paid for conversations sans bullshit. But we can still email.

      Thanks for your continued readership, Howie!  I really appreciate it!

  • Like so many of the comments here, I agree with your points. I’m particularly intrigued with Big Data and it’s something I’ve begun incorporating into the presentations I give to CEO groups. They’re scared to death of it…which I find fascinating because most can’t separate their personal feelings about it as consumers to look at the business value of it. Add another layer of the marketing people inside organizations who have access to all of this data, but either don’t know what to do with it or don’t have time to deal with it and you have a culture of ignorance. I don’t know if it’ll be the job of agencies to bring this to the forefront or if the forward-thinking big brands will forge the path. 

    •  I’m glad we got you on the front line, Gini.  Isn’t it amazing how backwards corporate America is?  It’s no wonder that even minor innovations can lead to complete market changes. 

      To your question, big agencies will talk it, but some companies are already harnessing it. It’s a question of whether the knowledge becomes public, or amongst the pros, so to speak. We know this because Facebook and Google are selling it privately.

  • Well Geoff, if I might add a viewpoint that’s part experience, part gut and several years ahead of 33, I’d say don’t give up on the Cluetrain.  Philosophically, I’m a subscriber of Adam Smith who said that a socially responsible business focuses on profits.  It seems crass in a headline, but those that read and digest what Smith meant, is that an efficient company is a socially responsible company in more ways as a *result* of profit. Social media has it’s place.  People like you are ahead of the market.  Most companies today are where you were five years ago.  It’ll take time, but it will settle.  That said, I’d love to know specifically what you are referencing in that graph — by example. 

    BTW, love the shots of Giza.  Spent some time there recently (too much), as you might know. 

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