“Is This Social Media Bubble Deadly?”

Photo cred: "Circulating"
Photo cred: "Circulating"

There’s a problem, and deep down, we’re all aware of it…but to do something about it would make many feel hypocritical and so they push it aside whenever it’s brought up.

The Social Media Bubble.

We’re all enthusiastic about the power of social media. And if someone questions it, we refer them to the same case studies of social media success stories, and big news events to back it up.  While MILLIONS of dollars (h/t Alex Tan) and countless hours are now being invested in social media tools, most companies aren’t making money. People say the money will come, but…

Are we setting ourselves up for disaster?

Half a year ago, it seemed that the few social media evangelists were the only ones that saw the value in social media, and getting brands and media to embrace these new technologies was extremely difficult.

Fast forward to today…the evangelists have gotten their way.  Virtually every brand and their mother wants to jump in, whether they know why or not.  Brands, media and professionals are hearing the voice of the evangelists, finding the success stories that they share, and they don’t want to be left behind in the proverbial dust.

When brands and professionals embrace something because they’ll be ridiculed for not doing so or because other brands and professionals are doing it, without actually understanding the value, there’s a problem.

They spend a lot of money, quite possibly on people who don’t actually know what they’re doing and tools that aren’t actually worth the time or money.  By setting the standards, this will fuel other companies to do the same.

There is value in social media, but something isn’t valuable just because it’s social media based.  This is the distinction that many are missing, a problem that evangelists are catalyzing.  Social media can be valuable, but it is not definitive value.

I’ll admit, I’ve been to blame for this as well.  I am learning more every day, and becoming more perceptive and realistic.  I’m learning to look at the big picture…outside of the “fishbowl”.

Much of this false value is created when people that are active in the social media space, become successful within the space and become a case study for social media success.

For example, I write about social media, I am active in the social media space, I spend a lot of time on emerging technologies, and my time and effort has paid off greatly.

That kind of story might inspire others to attempt the same path…but the reason it worked so well for me is because I am working IN the social media space.  While the same path might work for those in other professions, to blindly apply it to any situation is naïve and dangerous.

These kinds of generalities and assumptions are taking place constantly.  Resources are being dumped into this concept of “social media success” with little to warrant such action.  How long can this last?

Are we blinded by the enjoyment of these tools?  Is the bliss that is social media encouraging our ignorance to the reality that is taking place?

Are we headed toward the next bubble burst?  If we are, what can we do to stop it from killing the entire space?