I just got done reading a blog on PC World and I have to say that I am getting really tired of the negativity surrounding people trying to make a living in social media. This blog posting isn’t just directed at the PC World article, but at the pessimism and negativity about social media in general. There is a lot of hype surrounding social media right now, but is that a reason to dismiss the potentially massive effect it can have on a business?
It seems like everyone wants to rain on the parade. ”Twitter is just drivel” “You can’t monetize it” etc etc etc. I get it! You all don’t like the term ‘expert’ or ‘guru’ or anyone else parading around like they know what they are talking about. I get that. I don’t really like it either, I think if you are an expert or a guru on a topic, someone else will probably say it about you. Calling yourself a guru is a little over-the-top.
But the “Negative Nancy’s” in this space are quick to point out: ”Meanwhile, it seems the only people making any money in social media are the consultants themselves.” (Beware the Social Media Charlatans, PC World) Seriously though…if the space is too new for ANYONE to call themselves an expert or guru, and it’s too new for there to be any rules, how is it not too new to expect difficulty finding measurable profit yet? There’s a paradox here. If it’s (currently) too hard to measure and it’s still too young, how can anyone state with certainty the lack of positive impact that social media has?
I will not stand up and say that all other forms of marketing or PR are worthless and all resources should be poured into the social pool. However, to dismiss people as non-experts or lacking in credibility just because they describe themselves as an “avid social networker” is ridiculous. Michael Jordan could describe himself as an “avid basketball player” it doesn’t mean he lacks credibility.
I get the skepticism, especially given the rise in Twitter’s popularity and a growing generation of people who would love nothing more than to be on facebook, twitter, youtube and blogs all day trying to figure out how to use it to make a company money. I just object in general to the overwhelming amount of negativity from the business-as-usual crowd. They tend to sound just like record execs who somehow think ‘mp3s and digital music is just a fad’, or the newspapers that think that blogs and the online news are ‘killing journalism’. It’s the ostrich syndrome at it’s finest.
While not every new technology has instantly measurable results and not every technology has staying power, this dismissal of social media and social media consultants is short-sighted. With the number of individuals using social networks growing, it is hard to believe that there won’t be a need for these social media experts and gurus. It stands to reason that when a business is being torn to shreds on Twitter that it might help to dish out some money for an avid social networker, who may understand, based on their extensive EXPERIENCE, how to deal with the situation online.
Of course, what do I know, I’m no expert or guru. But I do recall when Amazon first started up and was not making any profits, traditional brick and mortar businesses dismissed the future e-commerce giant. They pointed to their balance sheet and said, “it’s a fad…people like the experience of walking into a store.” Well as of today Amazon’s stock is over 71 and they have a market cap over just over 33 Billion. So where is social media going and do you need a social media consultant? I guess time will tell.