Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 29, 200910:30 PM

Giving Something A Fighting Chance

Blogging is dead. Twitter is dead. MySpace is dead. Podcasting is dead. Dead is dead.

Let's trot out the "fill-in-the-blank is dead" horse and beat it one last time, shall we? Whether we're dumping MySpace for Facebook, Twitter for FriendFeed, Habbo Hotel for Club Penguin, or everything for Lifestreaming, we should all be able to step-away from and recognize that the mass population does not have a fighting chance anymore. We're taking it away from them. Our constant and consistent infatuation with the latest (and greatest) shiny object in a world where these objects are being created and popularized on the fly is going to cause so much confusion that we may start seeing people recoil simply because they can't keep pace and they are (rightfully) confused.

Is this Digital Darwinism at its finest?

Some might rightfully argue that the speed of change and rapid developments in technology are only going to increase and those that can't keep up (or keep ahead) are going to be left behind. It's fair to say that when you're on the bleeding edge, but there is a more practical and rational opportunity here. Marketers might be best served in helping their clients and partners understand that it's not about which platform is the newest, but rather which platforms will drive the overall business strategy furthest.

For some, the latest and greatest does this.

But, for most, it doesn't. Yes, we now have the ability to lifestream brands out to the world. From short and long copy to images, audio and video, everything is easy to produce, quick to publish and simple to maintain, but it's not for everybody. Don't believe me? Check out the article, Forget Twitter; Your Best Marketing Tool Is the Humble Product Review, from Ad Age today:

"…marketers are learning to listen. And for all the ink spilled on the importance of Twitter and Facebook as feedback and customer-service channels, there's another social-media tool marketers are increasingly finding useful, not just as an online-shopping tool but as an internal, culturally changing consumer-criticism channel: the humble product review. The feedback is altering not just how the marketing department works but also how companies design their products and work with suppliers. And it's not limited to small, nimble players; companies using product reviews range from niche retailers such as Oriental Trading Co. to big, broad-based behemoths such as Walmart."

While the main crux of the article focuses on the power of peer reviews (a topic near and dear to my heart), it forces Marketers to realize that sometimes, it is the simple things that can take you furthest (asking for, publishing and responding to real people's feedback) and sometimes those things may not be the media darlings du jour.

To really take advantage of all of the new platforms and channels to communicate, we're going to have to get better at understanding what they truly are (and what they represent to our consumers) before jumping ship to whatever next just showed up in our Web browser. To do that, we have to let these platforms mature over time and prove themselves.

Are we there yet?

Maybe we need to give things more of a fighting chance?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Jon Burg
    Mitch Joel

    I don't know that we can call one platform dead, I think what we're really seeing is a shift from marketing to a platform, to marketing to a behavior, to marketing to a person.

    We aren't building blog strategies, we are building social strategies. And increasingly savvy marketers are building... integrated strategies that feature the best of all worlds. I know, integrated, we called that one dead a long time ago.

    But if the lifestream isn't about integration and behavioral relevancy, then I'm just out of words to play BS bingo with.

    Communicate effectively, honestly with a human voice, be part of a good consistent story and experience, connect on a human level and you've done your job.

    Then again, in a world of freemium, making money is dead so who knows?

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    it's unnerving how quickly new tools are deployed and new users are convinced that's the thing for now. thing is that nothing is dead -- everything is very much alive. we're not used to this much choice and these many channels. it will be interesting to see what floats and sinks. unfortunately, only time will tell; hopefully we'll have the patience to wait and see.

    Reply
  • Posted by Bryan Person
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch:

    Just because Steve Rubel says blogging feels "old" doesn't mean it's true. His new "lifestream" is, essentially, a blog but with more bite-sized content. But it's still a blog and Steve even says he'll write longer, more though-out and researched posts from time to time, too. So, let's not get too caught up in Rubel's semantics.

    Blogging is as important as ever, even if it doesn't deliver near instant gratification and feedback as Twitter might. Blogging remains powerful as :
    1) A digital home based
    2) Content that *you* control, on a domain *you* own.
    3) A powerful tool for search (older posts retain their value and sometimes become even *more* valuable as time goes on).
    4) A place to demonstrate thought-leadership

    At LiveWorld we certainly haven't stopped advising our clients of the many potential benefits of a well-written blog, even in this nanosecond age of Twitter.

    Check out this excellent post from Louis Gray on why blogging "is still the foundation" of a good social media strategy: http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/06/blogging-is-still-foundation-in-world.html

    Bryan | @BryanPerson

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    All I can think of now is Louis CK talking about technology and our collecive impatience when using our cell phones.

    "Give it a second! It's going to space!"

    Patience is a virtue but rarely a business plan.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ian Rountree
    Mitch Joel

    Seems like the best practice is to simply cover all your bases - don't abandon everything, adopt the newest as it comes - but is this a good idea?

    Simplification is a powerful force, it allows people to recognize a given brand, symbol, face, name faster - and at the end of the day, only two things matter. How much your customer trusts you, and how fast they remember that trust each and every time they're exposed to you or your brand.

    Reply
  • Posted by Alex Ikonn
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch,

    Early adopters are quickly to jump ship or call the tools outdated as soon as the majority starts hop on the wagon and learn how to use the tools. Marketers should learn not to be part of the hype and analyze what the general public is doing.

    *Don't laugh" but in my opinion the general public just got used to the idea of e-mail as being an essential part of their lives. It took people around 10-15 years to fully adopt this technology... That means e-mail newsletters are still a great tool if used correctly.

    There are 100's of social media tools and choosing the right one can be a daunting task but at the end of the day the majority and the overall usefulness of the tools win.

    As marketers we have to work with our clients and make the understand that the latest may not be the right for their overall marketing strategy. More research has to show what tools actually influence a buying decision... reviews are way up there!

    Let's think before jumping on the next bandwagon - http://bit.ly/bandwagon.

    Alex "No Hype" Ikonn

    Reply
  • Posted by Wally Levitt
    Mitch Joel

    I work in a business that - if you believe the hype - "died" several years ago.

    Except people - including teenagers, believe it or not - are now watching more TV than ever before. More than 22 hours a week in Canada...and almost double that in the U.S.

    And of course, they are now also spending lots of time online. We all are.

    As a marketer, it's very easy to focus on the next shiny object and declare the old one dead and gone. That makes you appear "forward thinking" and "strategic".

    And sure, sometimes the new object IS really shiny and exciting...and the right place to put some focus.

    But more often than not, the tattered "old" object is also still chugging along very nicely...

    Reply
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