I was just struck by an offhand comment during audience Q&A following a panel discussion of social media and media planning here at MediaPost's fabulous (free!) OMMA Global conference in San Francisco: "You're not going to resolve customer service issues through Twitter. The best you can
There's a fine line between a boom and a bubble, and I'm worried that the social media explosion is starting to show some signs of the latter. The trend has a lot of potentially bubble-like characteristics: for example, a dizzying number of new companies are launching and raising loads of cash, but without comparable increases in actual revenues, on vague promises of an ad-supported model. Then, to satisfy investor expectations, they are pressured to introduce half-baked ad platforms before they're ready or even fully thought out.
Here's another social media first in 2010: A 102-minute documentary from PBS will be broadcast on Facebook before it does on, well, PBS. The "American Experience" documentary about the history of the U.S. environmental movement, titled "Earth Days," will be presented on Facebook on April 11, according to the New York Times, eight days before its TV broadcast on April 19 -- marking the first time a full-length documentary has appeared on the site before TV (the documentary has been touring 40 U.S. cities over the last year).
Social media is exciting a lot of interest as a marketing and advertising channel, and rightly so, in view of its unique qualities of engagement. And of course the burgeoning new medium has enthusiastic advocates. But like every other new medium on the way up, social media's boosters sometimes fall into aggressive hyperbole which just ends up confusing the situation.
Call it edgy, call it innovative, call it forward-thinking, call it whatever you want -- I'm going to call it stupid. The French Connection has generated a lot of puzz (that's publicity + buzz, if you are not a regular reader) with a new promotion in the UK using Chatroulette, the site which randomly pairs video chat users, promising $375 worth of vouchers for whoever can set up a date on Chatroulette first.
It's natural to befriend bosses and coworkers, or at least be on friendly terms with them, since you spend so much time around them. But work friendships have their own set of rules, enforced by normative corporate culture that has evolved over decades of office cohabitation. And the advent of social networks has introduced a whole new dimension, which seems to be confusing a lot of people. Why they are confused is itself more than a little confusing.
Recently I saw more data documenting increasing use of mobile devices to access social networks. This time around the data is from comScore, which found that the number of visits to Facebook via mobile browsers increased 112% over the last year, while visits to Twitter via mobile devices increased 347%. In terms of raw numbers, these figures represent an increase from 11.8 million mobile access users in January 2009 to 25.1 million in January 2010 for Facebook, and an increase from 1 million to 4.7 million for Twitter over the same period.
"Live-tweeting" the Oscars, if you are just watching it on TV, is an excellent exercise in redundancy. Anybody who "misses" anything that happens during the three-hour-long marathon likely does so intentionally. But there are those who seek to attach themselves to an event everyone is a part of, even if they have nothing to add really. The hashtag allows the attention starved to do this. It also allows marketers to push their message to what they hope may be a willing audience. But, come on, Harvard, this
is beneath you.
Behavioral differences between the gender are inherently interesting, and doubly so for people trying to make money on 'em. In that spirit, an interesting new study from Nielsen found that women use mobile devices to get on the Internet for social media purposes 10% more than men, including "tweeting" or checking into social networks like Facebook or MySpace. Nielsen found Women's mobile social network usage led men's 55%-45%.
From all the press coverage, it seems like 2010 is going to be the year of social media in terms of online advertising, and especially social networks -- most prominently Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. But a look at recent ad revenue forecasts definitely tempers the cheery outlook somewhat: Yes, there will be sustained growth over the next couple years, but it will be in relatively small increments, and social network advertising will remain a small -- in fact, decreasing -- part of total online advertising. This naturally leads me to wonder: What's holding social network advertising back?