Social Blah

5 years ago by in Featured Articles, Social Media Tagged: ,

As someone who has been working in social business now for five years, some of this echo chamber is getting old. The good news is I think we’re at the dawn of the next age of social.

Social business is starting to mature. Sure, it has a long way to go before we figure out definitive measures, processes and really chalk up substantial business wins, but we’re starting to see pros who really know their stuff and brands and thought leaders who are actually doing something – not just delivering keynotes about theories or ideas.

Still, as it matures, social business will hopefully lose some of the “douche bag” nature it has become known for. Whether it’s 85 vendors contacting you every day with “the best platform” or “strategy” to deliver social return on investment, or some of the social “rockstars” who nary have a case study of their own work to share, I feel like we’re getting close to some legitimacy.

For me – someone who has had to fight the C-suite battle at three brands – it’s about time.

Those of us on the brand side, who must convince sometimes skeptical CMOs or corporate monkeys of the value of social, we’re ready to move on. While hundreds of agency folks are heralded as social business “experts,” we’re actually the blokes and dames doing the work, fighting the battles and winning. It’s funny how most of us are never MVPs or get asked to write for Forbes or the Harvard Business Review. Yet we’re the ones making it happen. Without us, those agencies and consultants don’t get hired. Does anyone see what I am talking about?

That’s not to say there aren’t great thought leaders and amazingly talented folks on the agency side. Many of them are friends, colleagues and I respect them very much.

That said, what corporate social business practitioners needs is more examples of folks in their position – those that have to fight the good fight internally – for real-world examples of how to get stuff done. The smartest thought leader doesn’t necessarily have the chops that help you get past that skeptical “old-school” media buyer or internal detractor who lives mentally in 1980 and believes TV is the only game in town.

Let’s hear more stories from the inside. Let’s put those folks on a pedestal and give them the credit they deserve. Let’s learn from them so we can all get better.



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5 Responses to “Social Blah”

Scott Gulbransen
June 28, 2012

Your thoughts?

David Binkowski
June 28, 2012

Preach it!

David Binkowski
June 28, 2012

I couldn't agree more, but I do believe there is 'baggery happening brand-side too; Social rockstars who've accomplished nothing yet they'll hop jobs on a dime, leaving their junior staff holding the bag.

Scott Gulbransen
June 28, 2012

Don't disagree Dave. I've had two jobs in two years…but for other reasons! ;)

Charles Var
June 28, 2012

Excellent story and perspective Scott. With a background in more traditional PR and marketing, it's still somewhat difficult or at least unnatural feeling to take the leap of faith into Social Media. It's not that I don't "get" social media, but when push comes to shove and have to make hard trade-off decisions, it becomes more difficult to bet on the "new" horse in the race, sort to speak. Of course, that's made more difficult due the familiar "douche bags" around every corner, who promise to ride that horse to victory for you.

In my mind, the social media movement draws many parallels to the PR craze of the early and mid 90's in the technology world. The demand for PR was high, so everyone with a heartbeat jumped into the PR-biz. But when push came to shove, few people could explain how PR actually worked, or more importantly, few could really deliver results. Instead, they simply promised you the world, sent you an invoice and collected a bunch of buzz-word filled responses when you asked them why you weren't getting more PR results and media coverage. "Oh, your new levitating car that runs on sunshine and costs $1 just isn't considered newsworthy," they'd say.

But as you point out, I think social media is maturing – and so too are the professionals working in it. They finally get that it doesn't matter how many people follow you, or whether you were able to generate enough revenue on your beer or dating blog to pay rent. What matters is whether you know your craft well enough to apply it in different settings. Business settings. It's one thing to get lots of people following you or reading your blog about fun things that people are just naturally passionate about. It's quite another doing it for say, tax preparation technologies or online databases (I work for

Still, I think folks like me have long overcome the hurdle of believing in social media – or at least the "potential" of social media. The next evolution is clearly about making the profession truly professional.

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