Tucked away in a post about why the next Blog Potomac conference -- slated for October 2009 and featuring fellow crayonista Jane Quigley -- will be the last, lies Geoff's eulogy for a form of media and marketing that many still consider the latest shiny object in the marketing practitioner's box of baubles.
The technology adoption cycle has been maturing for social media (and social media, web 2.0 whatever you want to call it is definitely inspired by technology) for some time. Widespread corporate adoption is happening as we speak, albeit with many stumbles. Based on conversations I’m having, even the most conservative organizations are adapting now.
The time when social media as a special or unique or “shiny and new” type of communication is rapidly ending. Does that mean it’s going away? Hardly.
But from an innovators standpoint, as someone who lives on the edge, who wants to be where new frontiers are being created, we’re at the end. For me, social media is dead… That means it’s future forward.
While my experience with conservative organizations leads me to suspect that Geoff thinks we're further along the Technology Adoption Lifecycle (or more precisely the "marketing adoption cycle" - I don't think we can debate that the technology itself is mainstream) than we really are, I'm not sure that Geoff is wrong. At least not entirely.
If we're talking about social media as a category, as something special, unique or new, then it probably is (or should be, anyway) dead or dying. The notion of social media as a silo and as something that warrants specialized expertise is nothing more than a point of inflection between a new media landscape that is entirely, seamlessly social and an old media landscape that was always social anyway (even if we didn't know it.)
Then again, I'm not sure the death of social media matters a whole lot to anyone but the "next new thing" innovation junkies. Is Geoff arguing in favor of shiny object syndrome at a time when, frankly, most marketers are still not making the best use of the last big thing? Hey, I'm an innovator too (or at least, I like to think I am) and I'm also keen to identify and understand whatever lies around the next bend, but I also know that tomorrow's toys don't amount to a hill of beans to an in-the-trenches marketer who is (let's be honest) at best dabbling in social and still thinks they've had a coup if they convince their agency creative director to display the corporate URL at the end of the new 30-second spot.
So on the one hand we have a small band of serial innovators already seeking out greener pastures. On the other, we have the rest of the herd who are just beginning to suspect that the ground might be shifting right beneath their hooves.
So whether social media is dead or not, it surely seems to be trapped in limbo.
What are your thoughts? Is social media dead or is Livingston burying it alive?