Is Social Media becoming a turn-off? (Guest post by Sam Schuurman)

When we relaunched iJump in November 2009, we indicated iJump would be more of a resource for the community of social media practitioners.

Today’s guest post is by Sam Schuurman, a masters student at Otago University who also advises clients on social engagement and co-creation. Check out Sam’s site, iThnk.

In 2009 there’s no doubt that social media rocketed into the mainstream, but towards the end of 2009 there were various signals pointing to the fact that social media had now become a massive turn-off!

Firstly, Pete Cashmore wrote an alarming post about the fact that there are 15,740 social media experts on Twitter – yuck.

Around the same time last week Simon Young wrote a post called 7 Predictions for 2010. Prediction No.5 was…”Social media will stop being a newsworthy marketing ploy in its own right, as more businesses get on board and start connecting to their audiences. Businesses will need to find something intrinsically interesting about themselves, rather than just the fact that they’re on Twitter…”.

Then on new years eve Alex Williams from RWW wrote a post that somewhat encapsulated just how much of a turn off social media is becoming.

Almost as to signify the death of social media as a buzz-word his post titled Let’s Move Away From Social Media and Get Down to Business described how “social media” has become ripe pickings for satirical videos (like this one), and a more holistic approach is needed.

What’s causing social media’s loss of sex appeal?

Like many of those late night infomercials it was always too good to be true…”with only 20mins a day using our free tools you too will be able to call yourself a social media expert – and best of all… no accreditation necessary”.

It seems that for the moment, with no measure of credibility it’s very much a case of one bad apple makes the whole barrel go rotten. Unfortunately, with 15740 self proclaimed social media experts there’s bound to be more than one or two peddling social media snake oil.

Adding to this is also the fact the every Tom Dick and Harry has now leaped head first into social media…nothing kills sex appeal like mainstream popularity.

While social media may have lost it’s sexy sheen and wow factor, I don’t believe that snake oil salesmen or mainstream popularity will ever truly kill off social media’s inner Fonzie, as there are enough great people doing some truly amazing things with social media to act as a counter balance.

No one wants to be a social-media loserSocialMedia

Losers get no action! Now that every man and his dog has a Twitter account and a Facebook page how is anyone going to get ahead using social media?

Well what made social media so darn interesting for businesses in the first place? Was it the cool funky social tools or was it the fact that some really switched on companies where breaking the mould and actually interacting with people in an engaging way? Me thinks the later.

So it is likely that it will be the same way people have always broken through the clutter, by being outstanding. By finding their own purple cow. For truly great businesses social media may have been a new opportunity but it wasn’t a revolution. The companies who grabbed our hearts and minds before social media came along are the same ones who are using social media to further their focus on customers and who continue to delight us with their innovations. – Just think about what Air NZ have done with the airpointsfairy.

It may be only a matter of time before it’s all just considered marketing again – and just as there always has been, there will be good, bad and downright ugly marketing.

Do you agree? Are you still turned on by social media?

Social media will stop being a newsworthy marketing ploy in its own right, as more businesses get on board and start connecting to their audiences. Businesses will need to find something intrinsically interesting about themselves, rather than just the fact that they’re on Twitter (and that their product is great, of course).

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