I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin – a Seth Head even – and one of his recent blog posts really highlights for me what’s happening in the social networking landscape. As usual he hits the nail right on the head.
From a user’s perspective, its a throwback to a ‘remember when (insert hip website, bar, band, clothing line here) was cool?’
I do remember when MySpace was the hippest, coolest thing going a few years ago. You found long lost friends, and even connected with some new ones. And the bands…. oh the bands. I found some great music on Myspace and maybe some people even found me. I was just as guilty as others for marketing my music through the network.
But now things are different. I rarely log on anymore because the only ‘friend requests’ I get now are from tons of crappy bands from all over the world, or invitations to events I don’t want to attend, or Friend requests from businesses or products. “Tide Detergent wants to be your friend”. No It Doesn’t. Tide wants my information so it can sell me stuff.
Networks like Facebook and Myspace in their purest form would allow for ideas and ‘the next hip thing’ to spread organically. without traditional marketing. Have a damn good song or a great idea? Throw it into the ether and it may take off. But do it on a way wehre its not forced on anyone.
Here’s an exerpt from Seth’s Blog:
First, these big companies are asking precisely the wrong question. They are asking, “how can we use these new tools to leverage our existing businesses?” They want to use the thing they have (money) to get the thing they need (attention) and are basically trying to force ads onto a medium that just doesn’t want them. Do people really want to follow P&G on Twitter so they can learn about the history of the soap operas they sponsored? Why? There are millions of people to friend or follow or interact with… why oh why are you going to spend time with Dunkin Donuts unless there is something in it for you?
Traditional advertising is inherently selfish. It interrupts in order to generate money (part of which pays for more interruptions). That approach doesn’t work at a cocktail party, or at a funeral or in a social network. Read Seths’ full post here
I’ve had people assume that to sell their business it NEEDS a Facebook or Myspace page, initially I thought that thinking was ok. Here’s the thing, it may help you out if you’ve got some great tee shirts, or great ‘local events’ , but I seriously doubt its going to help sell more detergent. Yes I’ve got a Facebook page and am quite happy so far. We’ll see how long before this network becomes monetized…