There’s a whole lot of hype surrounding social media, and I see a lot of smart professionals who are dismissive of Facebook or Twitter or whatever the latest craze, as a result. You can’t totally blame them — it’s hard to cut through the noise and discover which tactics work, which are measurable and which will generate positive return for your organization or clients.
While I do believe social media can be used as great, wait–revolutionary–communication tools, many companies are falling victim to the ‘bandwagon’ syndrome. (i.e. “We’ve GOT to do this, because everyone else is!” instead of “We’ve got to do this because it’s reaching our audience and satisfying our company goals”) And ultimately setting themselves up for failure.
Being the public realm social media is, this failure is potentially spread in a heart beat and soon everyone’s talking about your brand’s big mess up.
And while we sit back and watch these people squirm (or worse–experience it ourselves), you can’t help but wonder if it’s really worth it. If this really is the next big thing? Is it worth the risk? Or should we just stick to what we know?
For me, I sometimes feel like I’ve abandoned everything I’ve learned about doing PR. While still using the same theories, and working towards similar goals, I’ve almost tossed away the tools I’ve mastered in favour of the new, shiny tools of the web. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made a grave mistake…
Then I read an article like this one, published in Newsweek, back in 1995. Essentially it discredits the Internet, saying it’s all a bunch of hype, and that it’ll never take off the way visionaries were predicting back then.
Sure, some fads will come and go. Some tools will flop, while others will prevail. However, I’m confident now what I’m doing will grow and shape my future into something better than it was before. And it doesn’t matter that I’m not printing and mailing news releases. Or that I’m forgetting about proper printing outputs for desktop publishing jobs. Or that I’m not comfortable using a fax machine. Because what I’m really learning is adaptability. How to change with the times. Fifteen years from now, everything may be completely different, but I know I’ll be right up ahead of the pack. Hope to see you there too!