A Look Back at Social Media

by francine Hardaway on January 18, 2010

Hmmm…Strange day. I just signed up for SMAZ, a social media conference in Arizona where people can hear from experts. It was hard to bring myself to do it, even though I try to support the community.

Those of us who were early to social media conversations, sharing, and "real time" are pretty fried by now from attending conferences and speaking on/listening to subjects like "the impact of social media on brands" and "is social media right for your company." To us, that's not even a question worth asking anymore; to early adopters, social media is already pervasive. 

Yet in early 2007, when I asked Robert Scoble to keynote the first Social Media Conference in Arizona, his presentation consisted of demonstrating to the audience how to use Google Reader. That was only three years ago. It feels like decades. Social media time makes Internet time seem like stasis.

And yet the real time "markets are conversations" audience is just the tip of an iceberg. 7/8 of the world is still under water with regard to real time. Most businesses haven't yet begun to come to terms with how their marketing is changing, or is about to change, because of the real time web. I'm not sure they even want to know.  Too much work. Today in my Twitter stream, Jay Thompson (@Phxreguy)  tweeted: "How the heck does Google pick up a new blog post and index it in less than four minutes? It's magic, I swear."

Although he's been on Twitter for a while and also blogs, Jay doesn't yet know that the new standard, set by services like PubSubHubBub and RSSCloud is way less than four minutes — it's less than four seconds. He's a savvy guy, and he still prefers to think it's magic. 

 I just got finished working on a re-brand for a public company that refuses to blog, because "legal" won't "let" it. Some employees may want to use social media, but company policy is still against it, and since there are no guidelines and they don't want to risk their jobs, those people just keep quiet. In the mean time, no one's conversing with the customer.

From this experience, and from that of lifelong friends who are just groping their way around Facebook, I would put social media at far less than half way along the adoption curve, and the "real time" web–the one in which you want to monitor your customers' reactions in real time–at the beginning. We've got a long way to go before the only way to reach people is perceived to be online through a conversation, rather than through print ads, snail mail, TV, or magazines. This doesn't mean the audience hasn't already moved on line. It only means the marketer hasn't perceived the movement yet. And until the marketer doesn't, the agency doesn't have to, and until the agency doesn't have to, the transformations we are all expecting will be pushed off into the future.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

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Must follow up: Soren Gordhamer’s 7 Lessons for Better Networking with Social Media « Fredzimny's Blog
January 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jaybaer January 18, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Really, really, really like this post. Crystalizes a lot of what I've been thinking. When you're immersed in it every day, so much of it starts to feel like old hat. Yet for the rest of the “real” world, the wonder and amazement continues unimpeded. It struck me last week when I read a blog post from Brogran that was almost laughably “basic” yet the tweets and comments of appreciation were rolling in. The “digital divide” we grew up on is nothing compared to what we're seeing, and will continue to see. Glad you're coming to SMAZ. It's a good event, with good people. You've already seen my preso (from PodCamp) so go see someone else. ;)

hardaway January 19, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Ed's pissed because no one asked me to present. But I''m presenting in
California, so I really don't care:-)

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