Commentary

One Year Of Social Media Spinning

It's hard for me to believe that it has been just over a year since my first Online Spin, which posted on Nov. 14, 2006. It has really been a wild year in the social media and social media advertising space, and in the course of launching a new technology in the space I have had the great fortune of interacting with, working with and even befriending a number of the people on the frontlines of changing the industry. It's been these individuals that have sparked many, if not all, of the Spins over the past year. I wish to extend my most sincere thanks to each of you; you know who you are, thank you. To those I haven't met yet, I look forward to meeting you.

I thought I'd take today's post and look back at some of the hot topics of the past year and a few of my personal favorite Spins.

Just over a year ago I began Spinning by discussing the issue that over the past year has added far more questions than answers: What is "The Role of The Agency in New Media"? It has been THE subject on Madison Avenue as attention increasingly turns toward media not conducive to standard client agency relations. However, as a year has gone by we continue to witness the signs of change rather than the change itself. That is to say that while all signs still seem to point in a general direction, the path has yet to be clearly defined. It is as if we can see the place the industry will need to reach (advertising as content, definable/measurable ROI on branding efforts, scalable creative development, permission-based marketing etc.), but how we get to a world where all of this is the norm is not so clear.

A year later, I would still maintain that the role of the agency will continue to grow in importance even as the tools for planning, delivering and measuring marketing messages evolve, with the stipulation that these tools will certainly increase the likelihood of the balance of power shifting between the agencies (or even to new entrants) towards those that can master tools the quickest. This is why we will continue to see the domination of digital/new-media-competent shops' acquisitive strategies amongst the major holding companies in the next year.

While the first Spin addressed a future for agencies in a world where Google was trying to be THE OS (operating system) for advertising, I later published a Spin about a somewhat parallel strategy of Facebook's to become everybody's OS for social media. This Spin was full of hope, really focused on the potential benefit of Facebook going open for developers, advertisers and, most importantly, its members. And while the obvious prediction of other social networks following suit has come to fruition (slowly), the openness has not been the boon to developers it was once touted to be. In large part this has been because while Facebook has been "open," there has not really been any competition from other "open" social networks demanding developers' or advertisers' time, leaving Facebook to set the pace of innovation alone. This has the potential to change with OpenSocial and the sure to-be-forthcoming announcement of the MySpace API. We will see.

By far the post most relevant to all of today's social media issues and the one must read by social media advertisers (every conversation I have ends up back at this same topic): "Social Media Advertising: The 'Publisher Is The Consumer.'". I really feel like this one totally unique attribute of social media holds the key to unlocking its true potential, achieving relevance and effectively extracting and measuring social media marketing efforts.

Business aside, my favorite post are when a conversations spark a Spin that gives me a chance to consider the vast implications of the social media and advertising industry in the current sea change environment. The two I have the most affinity for that meet this description would have to be "John Locke To Al Gore: Tech Changes, Advertising Remains" and "Forget Innovative: Be Inspiring."

I really have enjoyed sharing my thoughts, and I hope they have been interesting, or at the very least amusing, to all of you. I'll do my best to continue to learn and share my view of the social media and social media advertising landscape, as long as you're interested and talking back -- or until the board makes me stop! ;-)

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