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Let's not ruin a good thing

Social media and word-of-mouth marketing strategies have certainly been picking up steam over the past few months. More and more companies are ready to give all of these fancy new vocabulary words they’ve been hearing and reading about a whirl.This is both good and bad. Good for reasons we’ve discussed before. Bad because some businesses are jumping into social media head-first without understanding what they’re getting into. Or even worse – jumping in with full understanding but complete disregard. In the mood for a rant? Read on. On our other blog, Open Source CU, We had someone make a comment about Second Life that applies to the entire social media space:
“It’s about people. When you focus on that, everything stands a better chance of making sense.”
The reason MySpace has become over-run with corporate presences that have lead to widespread user resentment is because the companies see MySpace as a billboard instead of a community. To quote my buddy Charlie:
“I can just hear Agency Account Executives saying, ‘We need to get into MySpace and get all those eyeballs.’”
The same goes for ticked-off Second Lifers reacting angrily to corporatization (made up word) and PR claims that border on lies (warning: the linked article has some strong language, working folks). And don’t get me wrong, I love Crayon, and everyone associated with it. But I’m just saying – the last thing we need is for cynicism to take hold of new media before it has the chance to fly. Meanwhile, fake blogs are being outted all over the place. This includes three Wal-Mart corporate blogs posing as legitimate fans and a couple of fake McDonald’s blogs, and that was just October. There seems to be a race to see who can kill blogging’s legitimacy the quickest. What’s the problem? Too many businesses are quick to see the people as little more than a conduit to opportunity in these communities. It’s the same kind of mentality that destroyed mass marketing: “If you bug them, they will come.” The point is this – no business should ever plug themselves in to blogging, podcasting, Second Life, MySpace,and any of the number of social media communities unless they can really add value. Of course there’s huge opportunity in all of this, but the opportunities rely on relevance and added value. Otherwise it’s just more yaddayaddayadda. And we don’t need more yadda.

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