9 Reasons to Quit Social Media Now

That may seem like a strange headline for a blog devoted to all things social media-related, but several news stories about social media have finally pushed me over the edge: I have to share my own growing skepticism about social media from a purely personal perspective. Yes, social media represents an amazing advance in communications technology, which has opened whole new worlds of possibility in news, opinion, politics, entertainment, art, and activism -- not to mention marketing and advertising. And no, I don’t think anyone is coercing us to use social media, nor do I agree with people who claim that technology is “reshaping our brains” or “changing the way we think.” But there are still plenty of good reasons for limiting or even ending your involvement in social media.

I was inspired to write this by an article in the Daily Mail, which in turn cited articles in the German Der Tagesspiegel and suggesting that people who don’t have Facebook profiles are “abnormal,” “suspicious,” and possibly even psychopaths; the German article notes that neither James Holmes, the Colorado theater shooter, or Anders Breivik, who murdered scores of young Norwegians, had a Facebook profile, and the Forbes article observes that not having a Facebook profile will make potential employers think you have something to hide.



Enough is enough: I think it’s time to speak up for people who don’t use, or who severely limit their usage, of social media -- including myself (I know, it’s funny: a social media blogger who doesn’t like social media). We’re not psychopaths, we may be highly employable, and we have good reasons for not using social media. In our defense, here are nine reasons to rethink your own relationship with social media.

1.  It’s a waste of time. Be honest: first, I want you to think about how much time you spend using social media in a given day. Second, draw up a list of the fun, useful, interesting, relevant things you learned, or shared with others, by using social media during that time. These can be anything, including updates about your or your friends’ and family members’ lives, funny video clips that made you laugh, news from the world at large, work-related happenings, anything at all. Now, compare what you learned or disseminated with the amount of time you spent acquiring or disseminating that information: does it seem like an appropriate and proportionate expenditure of time? How much of it was just goofing off? On that note, in November 2011 Zynga’s Ryan Linton said the average user spends 6.5 hours per week playing games -- games which are precisely engineered to suck you in by being just the right level of hard-but-not-too-hard. I won’t even get into the virtual goods sales because I find it too utterly depressing. But ask yourself if there could be some better use of your time, whether working, or exercising, or face-to-face socializing, or even just doing nothing at all and enjoying some self-reflection; my bet is the answer is “yes.”

2.  It’s addictive and unhealthy. This won’t come as a surprise to most people who use social media, but researchers in Norway have created a Facebook addiction scale, adapting traditional addiction rubrics, including: “You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or plan use of Facebook; You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more; You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems; You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success; You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook; You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.” Like other types of addiction, Facebook addiction can have negative ramifications for your health: if nothing else, some of those countless hours might be better spent taking a walk, pursuing a hobby, or doing activities you enjoy outside. Now it’s true, not everyone who uses Facebook becomes addicted: some people are much better at moderating their usage and using it in responsible ways. But if you think you might have an addictive personality, it’s something to watch out for.

3.  It encourages envy/narcissism. Speaking of addiction, I find social media problematic because of the way it works on us psychologically. This is especially true of Facebook, which invites users to create profiles documenting as much of their lives as they care to share. It’s no surprise, human nature being what it is, that most people choose to create the best, most favorable image they can for themselves. The problem is when other people see that image and assume that it is fully accurate and representative -- then wonder why their own lives don’t seem as exciting or fulfilling by comparison. Again, this is a real psychological problem: a study by the University of Salford in Britain found negative outcomes from social media use including feelings of insecurity or lack of confidence when users compared their achievements to their friends; fully two-thirds of users with negative outcomes said the psychological distress made it hard to relax or fall asleep after being on a social media site. And in January of this year I wrote about a study by Utah Valley University sociologists which found that students who spend a lot of time on Facebook are relatively more likely to perceive other people as having better lives than themselves.

4.It takes you away from the real world. Yes, you can argue that social media isn’t distinct from the “real world,” but rather part of it -- but frankly that’s just not true. The real world is the flesh-and-blood here-and now -- your physical and mental being as it is unfolding from moment to moment, wherever you may be, whatever you may be doing. By inviting you to pore over other people’s (carefully-crafted representations of their own) lives, or obsess over how you choose to represent your own life to them, social media ironically distracts you from actually living it. This is a new twist on the old image of the bookworm, who “lives” through books at the expense of real life experience. Books are enormously valuable, of course, but they are no substitute for real life; same with social media.

5.It encourages superficial relationships. This is actually a two-pronged complaint. On one hand, one of the most annoying things about social media is the awkward moment when someone you don’t know well or particularly like asks to be your “friend” or otherwise connect with you online. This leaves you a choice: do you ignore the request and hope they get the picture, while feeling unfriendly and rude? Or do you accept the request and dilute the authenticity of your group of friends -- which also means you have to be more careful about what you post, and whom you share it with? Conversely, by giving you access to a constant stream of updates from your real friends, Facebook and Twitter can make you feel like you enjoy a closer connection with them than you really do. Remember, most people are presenting carefully-crafted, idealized images of themselves, which might well conceal the fact that they are, say, having family problems or a tough time at work. Is it really safe to assume your friends are telling you everything that’s going on with them through social media? Is it possible that they’d share something more private over a bottle of wine or a game of racquetball?

6.Privacy concerns/unethical business practices. I don’t think I have to explain this one too much, which is disturbing, since it may actually be the most convincing reason not to use social media. But think about it: in addition to the security of your own personal information, do you really want to be rewarding a business (you know which one I’m talking about) for progressively, incrementally breaking down our collective expectations of privacy? I don’t.

7. It can be personally and professional dangerous. Again, this isn’t a new concern, but it’s one that bears repeating. One of the remarkable things about the Internet in general, and social media in particular, is the way it allows most anyone to broadcast news and opinion to large numbers of people, if they so choose. The obvious danger is that individuals will, inadvertently or in a moment of bad judgment, broadcast something incredibly damaging to themselves and others. The danger is even more acute because, as every teenager should be warned and as countless hapless individuals have already learned, “once something is on the Web it will live there forever”: just one slip-up can kill you. Essentially, the individual user must be 100% sure that he or she has the discipline to never post something that is offensive or incriminating -- even, say, when they’re drunk or extremely upset or under a lot of stress. That is frankly setting the bar really high for ourselves.

8.  It’s expected. Of course there are plenty of times when social expectations represent valid norms that most individuals would do well to adhere to: making a living, supporting their family, wearing clothes in public, not committing crimes, etc. But there is a secondary layer of norms which are totally optional, and which should remain that way. No one says you have to be on Facebook now, but there is a danger that our expectations will be subtly shifted over time: it’s disturbing to think that employers are already looking askance at people just because they don’t have social media profiles. The more people who resist the pressure to use social media, the more freedom of maneuver there will be for everyone else. Even if you don’t feel like quitting Facebook now… don’t you want to have that option in the future?

9. It’s only going to get worse. It is already obvious, from the behavior of Mark Zuckerberg and others, that social media companies have set themselves a single, overriding mission: to continually increase everyone’s engagement with social media through every means available. They have succeeded so far, and over time they will have more and more tools in their toolbox: the only limit is what engineers can do with the information we voluntarily give them. In short, if you think managing your social media presences is overwhelming now, just imagine what it will be like ten years from now. And ask yourself: is it really worth it?

33 comments about " 9 Reasons to Quit Social Media Now".
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  1. Ric Dragon from DragonSearch, August 8, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.

    OK, this is obviously one of those headlines designed to attract all sorts of hoopla, and I'm falling for it.

    Each of your statements could be countered with plentiful examples of people who might otherwise be more sheltered, more disengaged from any community for the lack of social media. Certainly there are those (particularly of the boomer generational) ill-equipped to cope with the changes of the digital revolution - but for others, it has meant an expansion of the ability for people to socialize, and perhaps even think.

    Authors like Nicholas Carr (The Shallows) have presented compelling arguments for how the internet is diminishing our ability to think deeply. I have a funny feeling though that the critics of our new social society are as thorough as they should be - there are other sides to the coin.

  2. Janice Cuban from Janice Cuban, August 8, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.

    ...and now your provocative article ironically makes me want to follow you on Twitter.

  3. Khalid Low from Reindeer Company, August 8, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.

    The Daily Meal and Facebook articles have two things in common and that is Germany/Finland.
    What I mean to say is that if we were to do a research study of what Americans in general thought about the said articles, I bet most would think the articles are false and even silly to even take seriously.
    That alone speaks volumes, but in general what you write is solid argument. But then again, there are other sides of the coin.
    Bottom line is if you have no common sense in regards to what you are sharing or posting then on an open forum then forget Social Media, you have some serious issues to deal with.

  4. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 8, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.

    Mediapost needs someone who has a real positive passion for social media and apparently you are burned out. Your screed reminds me of people in the 1980s who clung to their typewriters and said they'd never get on a computer. They were just as nutty as present-day holdouts on social media. Avoiding social media (completely) is akin to building a cabin in Montana down the road from Ted Kaczynski. No one says you have to be an addict, but how much trouble is it to put up an account on LinkedIn, really?

  5. Erik Sass from none, August 8, 2012 at 4:41 p.m.

    Well, I don't think I'm burned out so much as voicing what I consider a healthy skepticism about what social media actually does for us at a personal level. From the POV of a reporter, it's still fascinating -- def. the most interesting part of the media ecosystem right now. It's power as a tool for organizing people is undeniable. I just don't want people to think I'm a psychopath because I'm not on Facebook. That seems a bit much.

  6. Ric Dragon from DragonSearch, August 8, 2012 at 4:57 p.m.

    Erik; you should check out Hamlet's Blackberry, in which the author recommends a sort of digital sabbath - taking one or two days off of digital and social.

  7. Heather Dougherty from Self-employed, August 8, 2012 at 5:16 p.m.

    You're not alone Erik! I literally just posted on the topic of social fatigue yesterday. I've been extremely quiet on social lately, feeling burned out on "sharing." I contend the only manageable future lies in convergence and, to your point, a realignment of expectations around an individual's level of social activity as it pertains to their professional ability or validity.

    You can read the post here, if you like...

  8. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., August 8, 2012 at 5:46 p.m.

    Good for you, Eric! Not sure I would swear off completely, but I have an image in my head of lemmings looking down on other lemmings and behaving toward them in an antisocial manner, just because they refuse to join the parade to the cliff edge. Social media are like a dead people: You must never ever say anything bad about them or others will chastise you for it. What a crime it is to not be trendy and with it, even when your critics can show scant benefit to you of being so.

  9. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 8, 2012 at 6:23 p.m.

    Erik - I agree with Heather Dougherty that it is normal to feel social fatigue but quitting social media altogether is a bit extreme.

    Concluding that not having a Facebook account makes someone appear "suspicious" and makes employers wonder what they might be hiding is a ridiculous analysis. Facebook should not be a test of whether someone is socially developed and able to have successful, healthy relationships. Having this belief is taking social media to the other extreme. Social Media is a powerful TOOL that has revolutionized the way many tasks of life are handled but everything needs to be done in moderation with common sense. If a person gets true clinical addiction to Social Media, it's a symptom of the person's larger problem of having a predisposition to addiction.

    The shooters not having FB pages doesn't tell us anything. Making the assumption that most people who don't have FB pages are trying to hide info about themselves is just as misleading and false as assuming that most people whose profiles seem to show a "better"/"more exciting" lifestyle are actually living those lives. Those who think someone's a psychopath for not having an FB page are putting too much stock into ownership of an FB account. People tend to embellish, exaggerate, sensationalize, & put their best face forward so until we meet them and spend time with them, we should take impressions we have of people on social media with a grain of salt.

    Maybe a nice relaxing vacation where you don't write any articles and don't check your emails or profiles would be the best solution to your "healthy suspicions". :-)

    Steve Kavetsky
    Co-Founder/Pres. // The Social Commerce Network
    "WE work greater than me"

  10. Mark Smith from Sevencamp, August 8, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.

    The thing to never forget is that social media platforms are a commercial service. Like television but fueled by user content not production content and chock full of personal information that can be used 'against you' in this regard. It is designed to fuel the behaviors that are discussed in the post - for profit. This leads to many issues that are very disturbing. Buyer beware, social media makes subliminal advertising of yore the equivalent of the Wright bother's first airplane.

  11. David Koder from D Koder Marketing, August 8, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.

    Erik - a subject about the subject worked and it pulled us all in. I understand where you are writing from and I see a lot of people without social media pages and that's their choice. However, I am 26 and they are in their 50s, so I would say they enjoy their 10pm news and 6am newspaper and the fact that when you search for their name on the internet all the directory sites show and maybe even websites that hurt their reputation that they don't even know about. I would consider myself as a heavy user of social media, but not crazy. Speaking for my generation we have the option to tune out the radio, television newspaper sources and read/hear and act on what we feel best fits our needs and interests. Imaginations, creativity and ideas will continue to grow with us as the internet grows - lets just say after graduating from high school we get our crayons back. This article hit my inbox because I asked google to find it...which in fact saves me time to share and interact with those that find valuable information from me. We all look at something in life and ask ourselves if we wasted time, but that's when ideas come into play and change happens. Overall, everyone has very good points on this blog and they open us up to others opinions which is the power of internet interaction aka social media. Good night all @davidakoder

  12. Stanley Goodrich from SYSPRO, August 9, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.

    If I were an employer and logged the time my employees spent on social media to further their personal lives, I know I'd be shocked.

    I do believe that social media is a fad that will soon die down.

  13. Dean Fox from ScreenTwo LLC, August 9, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.

    Thank you, Erik, for pointing out that participation in social media is not, and should not be viewed as mandatory. Many of us see the pitfalls of surrendering some of our privacy and personal information for the marginal communications benefits of social media as unwise, if not dangerously misguided. Another MediaPost story today reviews a study that claims that "Fear of Missing Out Drives Social Media Use". I can believe it, and that insecure, addictive personalities are especially vulnerable to overdependence on social media for personal validation. Facebook will eventually join a long list of one-time online phenomenons - from Compuserve to AOL to MySpace, Yahoo and Friendster - that new generations reject and replace with the "next big thing".

  14. Kate Keeley from CenturyLink, August 9, 2012 at 5:39 p.m.

    As a business tool, I prefer to look at social media in terms of my target audiences--where are they, what are they interested in. If a particular audience or customer base isn't on Facebook, it's probably not the right place for the business either. Which also brings up the importance of measuring and analytics. The primary driver of time spent on social media (from a business perspective) ought to be based on how well it's delivering to goal--awareness, sales, customer loyalty, employee productivity, etc.

    Kudos on the title! It definitely piques interest and is not the ordinary daily fare.

  15. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 9, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.

    Stanley Goodrich: This is why responsible companies developed internal social media policies - to avoid time-wasting behavior. I completely agree with you that employees should NOT be using Social Media on company time to further their personal lives [I see it as the same thing as personal phone calls while you're on the clock]. I allow my employees access to Social Media to further my company's goals [depending on their role in AgooBiz] - WE have strict guidelines and constraints. During their lunch break, they can do whatever they wish on their personal networks. Regarding Social Media being fad, I respectfully disagree. Social Networks are a digitization of what happens in real life anyway. I draw your attention to Town Hall meetings, community organizations, even bars where people mingle, exchange ideas, meet new people, make each other laugh, etc. Social Media has made the globe a smaller place. With that said, I do believe Social Media [on a personal level] should not be the ONLY way people interact. It should be used to foster/maintain relationships with the goal of physical interaction at a later date. Social Media is the internet's version of physical meeting places on a global scale and it will never go away. Yes, as Dean Fox states, FB will eventually be replaced with the "next big thing" but the idea of Social Media since the days of Compuserve [which I actually used back in the day] is not going away. Since the days of AOL chat rooms, Social Media has been improved, refined, evolved but the essence has stayed the same. If you start counting the age of SM from Compuserve, then we're looking at an industry that is over 15 years old [with exponentially-growing adoption rates]. Something that exists for that long can hardly be considered a phenomenon.

    Steve Kavetsky
    Co-Founder/Pres. // The Social Commerce Network
    "WE work greater than me"

  16. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, August 10, 2012 at 5:53 a.m.

    Perhaps you should write a follow up - 9 reasons for business to quit social media now

  17. Linda Jones from American Society on Aging, August 10, 2012 at 10:18 a.m.

    I really enjoyed the article and thought you made some valid points. I have, on many occasions spent over an hour of Facebook and noted after the fact what a time suck it is. I am a busy person so I only sporadically use it, but I'm glad it's there to occasionally peruse. I can understand why some people who use social media as an integral part of their lives as opposed to a tool (or even a temporary diversion) would take offense to some of the points, but I find it disturbing that many people consider it a generational issue. I have friends on FB ranging from their twenties to sixties, and I have to say the majority of my friends who post on a daily basis and are most active are my friends over fifty. The assumption that all older adults are digital-phobic shows very limited thinking and perpetuates a damaging stereotype. I am in my forties and dread turning fifty because I will suddenly be lumped into the "old geez" category, when the truth is I will continue to do what I've always done in keeping up with the latest developments and embracing the latest technology, especially that which makes my life easier. If you made a comment about boomers, consider opening your mind before you make a crack like that again. Before you know it, you too will be old...

  18. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 10, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.

    Has anybody here realized that WE are all discussing social media while using social media to do it? Do you realize that none of us would otherwise be exchanging our opinions on this subject if it wasn't for social media?

  19. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, August 10, 2012 at 10:41 a.m.

    I don't have the time to waste on Facebook, so i don't use it any,more, but keep very well informed about its usability. I don't want to turn into a moron, my life is about face to face sociability, not device obsession

  20. Gary Moore from Gary Moore Company, August 10, 2012 at 3:38 p.m.

    hey guy, good comments. Go to and watch his social media video, it will change your mind.

    Gary Moore

  21. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, August 11, 2012 at 6:32 a.m.

    I am not using social media to contribute to this discussion, I'm using a simple leave a comment tool which has been around about as long as the internet. People, usually social media experts and evangelists, are very quick to attribute social media in commerce to anything that works, largely because in most cases its not working. its a solution looking for a problem.

    Its the internet that allows us to communicate like we are doing right now

  22. Tom Goosmann from True North Inc., August 11, 2012 at 10:26 a.m.

    I recently attended a meeting with my twins' upcoming middle school principle who said the most widespread problem for fresh 12, 13, and 14 year-olds in school isn't drugs, sex, or violence. It's Facebook. And the very real problem known as Facebook depression.

  23. David Koder from D Koder Marketing, August 11, 2012 at 10:58 p.m.

    Linda Jones - hope your comment is not taking a crack at my post...

  24. Ana Arellano from Arellano, August 12, 2012 at 10:19 a.m.

    I believe social media is a positve communications tool for organizations or networking. I am excluding social media for personal use in my comments.

    I administer a page for a small church and I believe this strengthens community among our parishioners. Expanding into Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc. would have to be done in a thoughtful manner. Social media should be used for a purpose and not for its own sake.

  25. Andrew Boer from MovableMedia, August 13, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.


    I think you make a lot of good points. Social Media may have more downside than upside. Such is can play this game with a lot of technological advances . For example, the automobile arguably has more downside than buggy whip: people are inadequately trained or should not use them, it couples with alcohol to become a dangerous weapon that is one of the top killers of humans, it overheats the planet due to emissions, depletes our oil supplies, enables mechanized warfare, etc...
    But we tried hiring an intern this summer who did not have a car, and it was a huge problem for everyone. She was not economically viable because she didn't have access to the technology.
    The author distribution channel is rapidly becoming the key differentiation for authors: because advertisers and brands (you know, the people with the money) ultimately value audiences and not content. You may personally choose not to engage, or build a following or audience on social media, but you are just reducing your own economic value and potential as a journalist.
    Like choosing not to drive a car, it is a personal choice, and it might be a good one for you. In no way is it generally good advice to completely opt-out from a technology that is transforming society.

  26. Rob Frydlewicz from DentsuAegis, August 13, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.

    And when they step outside into society, how many of those immersed in social media isolate themselves by immediately plugging in to their iPad as if it's a life support system? Sad irony.

  27. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 13, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.

    Robert Gilmore: You stated "I am not using social media to contribute to this discussion, I'm using a simple leave a comment tool which has been around about as long as the internet". While I agree that the ability to 'leave a comment' has been around for a while and it is built on the backbone of the internet, you ARE using Social Media. You're not just posting a comment; you're having a dialogue with other people who read an article about Social Media. The discussion aspect of our interaction here IS Social Media.

    Wikipedia Definition:
    Social media includes web- and mobile-based technologies which are used to turn communication into interactive dialogue among organizations, communities, and individuals. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content."[1]

    There's an interactive dialogue occurring here and the posted article as well as all the comments are user-generated content.

    If you share this article outside of MediaPost OR if you personally have EVER shared any article, video, photo, link, then you're actively participating in Social Media [yes, on the backbone of the internet].

    I agree that FB use has gotten way out of hand [especially for teens] and personal use of FB has many downsides. Use of FB for business seems to be a waste as well because FB was created for personal interactions. I agree that no body should be fully immersed in a technology while their REAL LIFE relationships are non-existent or not important to them. Social Media [personally and for business] can be used to start new relationships with people which can and might eventually lead to face-to-face interactions [depending on the circumstances of the relationship].

    That said, Social Media has infinite potential for businesses. Robert: considering all the connections you have on Linkedin [Social Media for professional networking]; considering that the company you work for has its own blog site [Social Media again]; and most-importantly, considering that you are an "online marketing consultant" as well as "ecommerce consultant" it is confusing to me that you do not see the potentials of Social Media for business and you categorize SM as a "solution looking for a problem". I honestly mean no disrespect to you, I'm simply saying that if you truly believe what you say about SM then you won't use it at all. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt when I assume that you're using SM for the right reason: because you think it has real business value and NOT for the wrong reason: because everyone else is on it.

    Steve Kavetsky
    Co-Founder/Pres. // The Social Commerce Network
    "WE work greater than me"

  28. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, August 13, 2012 at 3:43 p.m.

    'You're not just posting a comment; you're having a dialogue with other people who read an article about Social Media.'

    I'm sorry but i am just posting a comment like I've been doing for 15 years, what's suddenly changed. it doesn't matter whether the topic is social media or man in the moon.

    Your definitions are really irrelevant to me, and to most commercially minded people. My hotel consultancy currently does NOT recommend expenditure on social media when money is extremely tight, many if not most hotels are under the cosh from their banks and financiers and there are far better measureable, demonstrable, time proven roads and channels for it. I don't understand why social media people find this idea distasteful, I'm living in the real world sorry. Social media people wax lyrically with absolutely no concept of commerce and budget, and ROI.

    That's Innfinite's position, and it will remain that way, until we see verifiable, attributable, commercial proof of concept of SM. Whether I have linked In account or whatever doesn't alter that one little bit.

  29. Tim Orr from Barnett Orr Marketing Group, Inc., August 13, 2012 at 6:22 p.m.

    And how many angels can dance on the head of YOUR pin? What damned difference does it make whether we use social media to discuss social media? Is one productive use of social media proof that all uses of it are productive? C'mon, let's stop the hair-splitting!

  30. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 14, 2012 at 12:45 p.m.

    Robert: I applaud your conservative/safe attitude toward Social Media over the established traditional media practices/expenditures - it is commendable to use the budget you have [small or large] on the methods that have worked for over a century. It is clear from your comments that you are one of the hold-outs [as Douglas Ferguson put it earlier] and that you prefer to stick with what you know. Social Media, for the first time in history, allows small businesses to compete with the big boys & reach a lot of potential customers for little to no money at all. It adds an interactive aspect to traditional push advertising/marketing. It allows companies to do better research on their customers in real time, adding another layer to boring surveys of the past. Traditional advertising [i.e. radio, tv, print media] was only available to businesses with budgets for those channels until Social Media arrived on the scene. But SM is not replacing traditional marketing. What it does is expand the possibilities and facilitate the use of traditional marketing methodologies over a another channel [the internet] in addition to the older channels. Budgets being tight actually makes the case for using SM because it is mostly free. Strategy is key though. If you don't have a strategy with SM, then you'll be wasting the company's non-budgeted resources. Tim Orr: The angels are having an entire party on the head of my pin - thanks for asking :-) To answer your question - No. One productive use of SM is definitely not enough proof that all its uses are productive. If you need real examples and statistics on how SM is successfully being used today by small, mid-sized, and large businesses, I'd be happy to take you, Tim Orr, and Robert Gilmore out to lunch and show you guys how to incorporate SM into your efforts [this is not a solicitation]. But one last parallel I'd like to make here: Holding out on SM in today's day and age reminds me of a FAMOUS hold out. I could picture the Board of Directors for Barnes and Noble [maybe Borders Bookstore as well] sitting circa '93-94 discussing whether to make use of the internet to sell their books. I could imagine how the board also had hold outs saying: "let's stick to what we know, this internet thing might very well be a passing fad, phenomenon, etc." While they were writing off online retail, a little company called Amazon came along and in a short time swiped Barnes and Noble's bottom line right from under the noses of the board members. Today Amazon, a visionary, is one of the world's TOP and most successful online retailers [of books and everything else]. Today, Barnes and Noble is still a huge book store. Go figure, right?

  31. Robert Gilmour from Innfinite Hospitality Ltd, August 15, 2012 at 9:34 a.m.

    Steve, its nothing to do with safe/conservative, its results driven. Put quite simply, we have over 200 hotel clients, mix of brand/independent, many of whom have implemented social media activity/marketing with a variety of 'experts' and a resulting variety of significant cost - and with one result pretty well across the board - the benefit just didn't justify the cost.

    I can't argue with that, or these experts who tell us they know how to produce results from social media activity, yet when put to the practical commercial test, they just can't.

    It is also not true to say social media doesn't cost much if anything. Ans low cost is not justification alone for including a particular discipline in a marketing budghet.

  32. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., August 15, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

    Now, WE've gotten to the heart of our differing opinions. In my amazing journey building // The Social Commerce Network, my team & I have encountered a wide array of characters. Many claim to be Social Media gurus/experts. With every solicitation WE've received from these so-called 'experts', WE've asked the same set of questions: 1. What makes you an expert?; If someone calls themselves an expert, I want to know how they got that title. 2. Do you have a traditional marketing/advertising background? If they do not, chances are they won't deliver results with SM because, as I said before, SM is a set of tools & technologies for marketing/advertising and not a replacement. 3. Can I see your past/current clients? 4. What was the ROI for these clients? And finally, this is the most important question to me: 5. What are some of the failed SM campaigns you've implemented and why do you think they failed. The last question is VERY important because it gives US an inside look into the company's integrity, confidence, & ability to learn from their mistakes so they don't repeat them. WE've asked the same set of questions of so-called SEO experts and found that most are not experts. After interviewing many SEO companies without any impressive results, WE eventually handled our SEO in-house. Our own SEO efforts put on the 1st or 2nd page of search results in Google, Bing, and Yahoo when searching for: "Social Commerce Network". If WE would've hired those SEO 'experts', it would've cost us thousands.

    I understand & share your frustrations. I could recommend a few REAL experts in the SM sphere:

    - Ted Rubin [Collective Bias]
    - Jeff Bullas
    - JD Lasica and Chris Abraham []
    - Pam Moore []
    - Sean Royer of SyneCore Technologies
    - Seth Godin

    This not a complete list but it's a start. This is a group of true influencers in the industry. Disclaimer: AgooBiz, Inc. is not affiliated. I am simply pointing you in the right direction.

    Wishing a productive future to you, Robert Gilmour, and the rest of the commenters here on this article. If anyone wants to connect on LinkedIn, I'd be happy to. Erik Sass: thanks for sparking yet another healthy discussion. Steve K.

  33. Erik Sass from none, August 16, 2012 at 6:36 p.m.

    As I've said on other occasions, it is really a privilege to write for such a thoughtful and well-informed audience. I'm glad this post was able to provoke some discussion. Thank you!

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