Beyond The Hype

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Once in a while, we all fall victim to the hype. It’s just the way it is. Much like rubber-necking, if everyone else is checking something out, we feel like we have to as well – you know, just to make sure we’re not missing anything important or interesting.

Even as trends take hold, we quickly see that some things are not for everybody. As big as both Facebook and Twitter are, there are plenty of people (and potential consumers) who are, simply, not that interested in what they have to offer. Last month, it was announced that 60% of Twitter users quit within the first month. Twitter takes work… and so do most of the newer online social networking environments. We all need to remember that as amazing as new media is because of the interactivity of it all, most people are not used to (and some are not even interested in) being interactive with their media – let alone having to take part in the creation of it.

Pushing forward, we need to get beyond the hype to get to the real application and power of the these platforms.

Before Twitter it was all about Facebook. Before Facebook it was all about MySpace. During the MySpace craze, it was also all about Second Life. And, that’s just the past four years (or so – and there were/are many others). That’s what trends are about – whether we’re talking new media or music or fashion. Something comes along (also known as the "shiny object syndrome") and we get distracted long enough to loose interest in what happened before (or not focus as much on it).

Let’s not forget that all of these channels are not dead. Not even close. They all offer vibrant and lively communities and conversations to those interested in that sort of thing.

And, that’s the point. Hype can only take a platform so far. At some point, it either fits into an overall corporate strategy or it doesn’t. Simply being on Twitter because everyone else is on Twitter is not a long term strategy. Much in the same way leaving Second Life – even though that’s where the kind of people you should be connecting with are – because you keep hearing about Facebook won’t help much either.

Play with everything but stick with what’s works best for you.

As obvious as that sounds, it’s amazing to see how many people abandon what’s working for them because they get sucked into the hype of something else. On a personal note, it’s why I continue to Blog and record audio Podcasts: it just makes strong strategic sense for Twist Image. The Digital Marketing landscape is still very confusing for most Marketers, Entrepreneurs and business people. I have both a passion for writing and a passion for speaking, so both Blogging and audio Podcasting make perfect sense… even if the hype on those two platforms are not at the same level of intensity as some of the other shiny objects.

Are we too quick to abandon platforms over the hype of something new? What do you think?


  1. I think your last point is key here – there’s no problem with jumping platforms, as long as you both keep and leverage what works best for you.
    I did MySpace when it first came out, just like everybody else, but I rapidly got tired of it . . . not enough functionality. Then came Facebook, and it suited my needs much better. I now use that to interact with the people I know in RL.
    I checked out Twitter on a personal level and found it rather useless. But now that I started my new site, I find that Twitter works quite well to interact with readers.
    It’s all in how you use the tools . . .

  2. Totally agree, Mitch ..and with Nate above. They’re all just tools — not *the* answer … I’ve found my Twitter time has impacted on my blogging. If anything, more discipline and more marketing skill are needed these days to *really* make use of time, resources, strategies, and to not get too distracted.

  3. The “one-size fits all” mentality doesn’t work. I totally agree, Mitch, that companies need to first express what it is their trying to accomplish, determine how their consumers currently behave online and then match the right technology to meet the goals and behaviors.
    That 60% Twitter abandonment stat from Neilson, which has been widely cited, is misleading because it does not take into account the high percentage of loyalists accessing Twitter outside of the website (i.e. Tweetdeck).

  4. Mitch – I agree totally with you about sticking with what works. As you pointed out, I think the “passion” precedes the “what works”. For you it’s blogging and podcasting. For me it’s video summaries of business books. For other people…
    When you find your passion, the tools become irrelevant. It’s pretty hard to have passion in the long run for a tool. It’s pretty easy to have passion in the long run for the stuff you put into the tools.
    I STILL love listening to your podcasts and reading your posts, no matter how “2008” the delivery methods are. It’s passion that attracts the crowd, and you’ve got it my friend.

  5. I believe one of the reasons why everyone gets so distracted with the next shiny new object is two fold. First, most marketers are not measuring these new tools effectively to determine if they are working for them which leads back to poor strategy. Secondly, it’s a matter of patience with any marketing initiative you have to ensure that your data is statistically valid, that is that you’ve been measuring for long enough to determine if the effectiveness is real.

  6. Passion and purpose will always transcend any tool of the month.
    If only Twitter could find some way of bringing in the flying feature from Second Life. Now that was cool 😉

  7. You put forth some great points here. The Shiny Object Syndrome is what I essentially try to cure people of whenever I speak. Very few organizations have an actual strategy in place before they jump on the tactics. They get so excited about the tools that they forget about their objectives. They also fail to realize that it’s now “people” powering these tools as opposed to the “tools” powering the people (i.e. tech crash 2001).
    One other thing, I’m very glad you mentioned is that some people JUST DON”T CARE.
    Since I work mainly with government clients, I see this quite often (not everybody of course). To get some of these people excited you really have to find a very specific relevance for them. Sometimes this involves finding a non work related personal use first, especially for those that are “on the fence”. Other times, it simply means understanding their objectives and providing a clear demonstration as to how a particular social media channel can help them reach their objectives more efficiently and effectively
    That being said, there will always be a segment of the population that will NEVER be interested in any of this stuff , even when you do show them a personal relevance…they just couldn’t be bothered. Hence why thinking outside the fishbowl can be very sobering at times…

  8. Great blog post and good points in the comments above. I think it relates to one thing and that is knowing your objective. Whatever you do – whether it is write a blog, use Facebook, use Twitter, etc. – you need to know why you are doing it, and how it fits into your overall strategy for your business. The tools work with the strategy – that tool is not the strategy.

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