I’m sure the first time someone proposed the idea of Neapolitan ice cream, the crowd was aghast.
“Strawberry, vanilla and chocolate combined!? You’re talking crazier than the Earl of Sandwich when he thought meat, cheese and bread could be enjoyed simultaneously. No more flim-flam!”
A century or so later, I’m finding the same thing with social media. All of the applications available are a box of crayons on the stove slowly blending into one jumbled piece of brown.
Where’s the utility? I understand the value of each platform. Facebook is more thorough and personal. Twitter is immediate. YouTube allows for valuable content finding that can inform, inspire or amuse an audience. MySpace is for kids who write poetry about how hard it is to be sixteen in Des Moines. That’s easy.
But when you start to see social media websites being developed solely to show the profiles of all the other social media sites, I get the sense that social media is on its way to a dotcom bust. I don’t mean that social media will collapse, quite the contrary. Remember how many search engines existed before Google? Social media is merely the asteroid that is forcing an evolution of Web 2.0. When the dust settles, a more streamlined social media realm will exist. Staying on top of the social media is chaotic, but it does provide a greater good. I connect with friends and family scattered everywhere. It gives me something more specific to start a conversation with than “Hey, how’s your job/wife/kids/professional sports team?”
As the proliferation of social media continues, it is my job as a marketing professional to stay on top of all this chaos. It takes some adjustment, but when I’m feeling overwhelmed configuring Twitter into Facebook or in a conference discussing viral content for YouTube integration, I ask myself one very simple question.
In a world where Ashton Kutcher has a million followers on Twitter, what would Demi Moore do?
I will not ring the bell. I will not tap out. I will embrace what this young, sexy media can give me. I will forget Striptease.
After all, branding means providing a consistent company image and voice. It means personifying your business. Social media allows your company to do that very literally and very intimately. The old school mantra of headline, sales copy and slogan quickly dies in this media. Slick is out. Organic reigns supreme. Creative direction means having a deeper knowledge of the brand and discovering not only how the audience views it, but how we can keep the brand relevant at all times.
And perhaps this is the most exciting part of the social media revolution. Once the dust settles from the integration pandemonium, we will start to see that social media isn’t just a bunch of colors and flavors melted together. It’s a palette of opportunity that will help us pick and choose how we paint the landscape of our brands.