Social media, Schmocial media

Deepjiveinterests.com talks about the conclusion of a recent Informationweek poll. Do people care about social networking? Not really.

This echoes a similar conclusion from the recent USA Today debacle, where over 90% of the users were appalled by the changes. USAT changed both features and UI at the same time, thereby confusing and enraging its reader base. It revamped its website into a social networking site with the addition of Web 2.0 features that seasoned bloggers and Web 2.0 mavens like Steve Rubel absolutely love.

So the question is why did an overwhelming majority reject social media? Is social networking media just another fad?

I don’t think the USAT episode was a verdict on social media. It was a huge failure in understanding customer needs and flagrant disregard of User Testing 101 fundamentals. It’s time for social (networking) media believers to stop getting hung up on the technology (means) and instead focus on how they can deliver value to their customers (end). Bottomline, customers don’t care which technology is fulfilling their need, as long as their need is being fulfilled. Savvy companies understand this and focus on the customer not on the technology.

There’s no doubt that social media is in early adopter stage and outside of the blogosphere bubble, not many know about the Web 2.0 phenomenon. However, the fact remains that social (networking) media is here to stay. It may morph into something completely different but the essence will live on. The main reason for its longetivity is that we humans are social animals and we have an intrinsic need to be connected, be it online or offline. Any medium that can humanize the online experience will be welcomed, slowly but surely.

What remains to be seen is which ones of these early adopter platforms make it across the chasm and into the mainstream. When finally the dust settles, the only winner/s that will remain standing are those who are truly intuned to their customer’s online social/collaborative needs and find creative ways to monetize this need.

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One response to “Social media, Schmocial media

  1. Great post!! I agree that social media companies need to cross the chasm. However, another major area where social media needs to prove itself is being effective in the corporate world. Yes there are some good examples of companies that have started using social media both internally and externally, however, these companies are early adopters too. Most companies are slower to change and it will require compelling reasons for them to do so. So, the true test of social media is going to be in crossing the chasm in the corporate environment rather than in the consumer environment.

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