Friday Fun: Calling bullshit on social media

I'm still enjoying my informal, semi-serious, so-funny-it-hurts Friday Fun series on the slings and arrows of online social media/networking practices.

The first three have been:

This entry is probably the most serious and, oddly, the only one that doesn't revolve around the number 5.


Scott Berkun has a though-provoking list of things we should keep in mind when extolling the insane virtues of all that social networking and social media stuff. In other words, he's Calling bullshit on social media.

Here's the list -- and please do read the complete text over at the original post, it's very good.

  • We have always had social networks.
  • There has always been word of mouth, back-channel, "authentic" media tools.
  • The new media does not necessarily destroy the old. TV was supposed to kill radio - this was wrong. TV forced radio to change and in some ways improve. The web forced TV, newspapers and magazines to change, and they will likely survive forever in some form, focusing on things the web can not do well. Its unusual for new thing to completely replace the old ones and when they do it takes years. Anyone who claims social media will eliminate standard PR or mass media is engaging in hype, as odds are better those things will change and learn, but never die. It's wise to ask what each kind of media / marketing is good and bad for and work from there.
  • Social media consultants writing about social media have inherent biases.
  • Signal to Noise is always the problem.
  • All technologies cut both ways and social media will be no different.
  • Be suspicious of technologies claimed to change the world.
  • Always ask "What problem am I trying to solve?"

Berkun also lists some responses and follow up to his post.

The comments are great two. Given my earlier posts in this "series," I like this one a lot:

Scott, if anyone reads just one thing about social media, let it be this.

Seriously, this could help a lot of people not be douchebags online, because frankly, the things that fall under the title "social media" can be very useful. If they're used well, like you're pointing out here, they can be a good thing.

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