I’m not a prophet of internet communications and I don’t believe I’m God’s gift to social media, but I think it’s time that the social media community makes an account of itself. Over the last few years we’ve witnessed a revolution in internet communication followed by a huge influx of capital investment. Millions of dollars have been spent on software development, consultation, seminars, and account management in the hope that social media will take off. With what one might call an ignorance of the lessons learned from the dot com boom/bust, thousands of professionals continue to believe that this will be the biggest thing since sliced bread if they just keep talking about it.
Facebook and Google have made money, but what about those ghost-bloggers, social media experts, and consultants? Where are their six figure contracts? How much cash do they have in the bank? It’s important to ask because at the end of the day, if you haven’t made money, you’ve lost. Anyone who disagrees doesn’t understand that this world, outside faith-based institutions (even then that is questionable), is driven by money. And I’m not talking about a few hundred bucks, I’m talking about real money (think back to college economics class). It’s the kind that you make when no other alternative can provide you with an opportunity to make more.
It would seem that there is little hope for companies and individuals whose names aren’t Google or Mark Zuckerberg. Lots of people in the social media sphere fit themselves to someone else’s mold. They operate in the now; ignoring opportunities to be unique or drive change. These are the people who tell you what you should be doing; they give you a five step plan or ten tips to doing something better. Those things are all well and good if you’re content to stay in one place. Individuals and organizations who follow this model won’t last, but nothing says that you have to be one of them. Social media needs individuals and organizations who are committed to being innovative and more importantly, accomplish something in the process. They look for profitable opportunities to differentiate and drive change.
If social media is ever to be worth its salt, a culture of innovation needs to cultivated and rewarded. Those who go against the grain and voice opinions about what isn’t working, are the ones to be listened to and not shot down. Unfortunately, social media needs innovators more than innovators need social media. Mathematician James Yorke said, “The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” Social media will begin to reap its rewards once its leaders and enthusiasts begin to look around and seek the opportunities for ground-breaking change. Things in social media have become stale, it’s time to go to plan B now.