Monday, October 09, 2006

Fascinating stuff.
The social media movement built around the perceived necessity of creating a technical support system for the millions of bloggers and other "non-traditional PR outlets" is now incorporating an interlocking spider web of mutually sustaining admiration circles.

As the movement grows, it displaces the support given to the "traditional PR outlet" infrastructure. Again, I am of two minds on this issue, and both minds are in conflict. Eventually it becomes clear that not all Social Media Outlets are created equal and that some have more weight than others, not unlike the traditional PR target list. In other words, BusinessWeek versus the Marin Independent issue all over again. The problem that the new movement will be facing is that any social media outlet can be massively supported regardless of its actual weight.

How else explain the increasingly popular pundits such as Scoble, who flushed with his recent ramblings as a former Microsoft employee, has now established himself as a master promoter of the new social order? Can we discern a trend in the rapid propagation of sites like DIGG, DELICIOUS, TECHNORATI and others who are mostly dedicated to themselves and the promotion of each other?

Wonderful direction we are taking, to write something, possibly of interest to oneself, rarely of use to the masses, then instantly link it to the voting system. The larger the number of votes, the higher the rating. Then sprinkle a massive number of links in the text, suck up to a comprehensive number of other digerati who need you to be popular, and soon your text is widely promoted and largely unread.

The time is rapidly approaching when each cell in the movement will have to admit candidly that their position should be based on what they can bring to the discussion, not the number of hits they can generate. Unfortunately this may no longer be possible because the movement itself has generated its own impermeable crust of jargon. It takes a truly dedicated neophyte to attempt to jump in now in the face of words like podcast, Vlog, vidblog, Wikis and other smoke screens.

For those of us, blessed with long memories and longer years, this is all reminiscent of those heady days when the world was blessed with computer literate and non-computer people. Luckily the computer became a commodity and it no longer needed programmers to use them. Hopefully so will the wild frontier of the Internet soon reject the overly complex world of Social Media and concentrate on the simpler task of PR which is, and always has been, to move products into the buyer’s stream.

Navel gazing? Possibly, but, as any trip to Santa Cruz will prove, some navels are more interesting than others